A new Congressional Research Service report said North Korea’s continued weapons development may be intended to give Pyongyang increased diplomatic leverage but could also contribute to the threat of a military escalation in the region.
Pyongyang’s recent tests of short- and medium-range missiles and rocket launch systems demonstrate increasingly sophisticated precision, maneuverability and reliability, the report said.
The newest crop of North Korean weapons—including the Hwasong-14, Hwasong-15, KN-15, KN-23, KN-24, and KN-25—demonstrates mobility, potency, precision, and has characteristics that make the missiles difficult to defeat in flight.
North Korea continues to produce fissile material (plutonium and highly enriched uranium) for weapons. North Korea restarted its plutonium production facilities after it withdrew from a nuclear agreement in 2009, and is operating at least one centrifuge enrichment plant at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.