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North Korea Spent Up to $650 Million on Missile Tests so Far in 2022: Report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) walks around a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the launcher at an undisclosed location in North Korea on March 24, 2022. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) walks around a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on the launcher at an undisclosed location in North Korea on March 24, 2022. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korea’s barrage of missile tests in the past six months may have cost between $400 million to $650 million, according to data released by a government-affiliated research center in South Korea.

Pyongyang has conducted 18 missile launches involving 33 ballistic missiles since the beginning of 2022, Nikkei Asia reported, citing data from the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA).

KIDA said the estimated cost included missile development, fuel, labor, and other expenses, totaling 2 percent of Pyongyang’s gross domestic product.

North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles from four locations on June 5. South Korea’s military claimed that the missiles traveled 110 to 670 kilometers (68 to 416 miles) eastward at altitudes between 25 to 90 kilometers (15 to 55 miles).

Pyongyang’s move prompted South Korea and the United States to jointly launch eight short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on June 6. Officials said the launch involved one U.S. Army missile and seven South Korea Army missiles.

The two allies also launched 20 fighter jets over the Yellow Sea, a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean located between China and the Korean Peninsula, to demonstrate their ability to “quickly and accurately” deter North Korea’s provocations.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has warned of “a swift and forceful response” if North Korea conducts another nuclear test, urging Pyongyang “to cease its destabilizing and provocative activities” and return to diplomacy.

U.S. forces also conducted a bilateral ballistic missile defense exercise with Japan on June 5 to demonstrate “the readiness of the U.S.–Japan alliance to respond to regional threats.”

Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, said at a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul, South Korea, on June 4 that Washington and its allies “are preparing for all contingencies.”

“We are prepared to make both short and longer-term adjustments to our military posture as appropriate and responding to any [North Korea] provocation and as necessary to strengthen both defense and deterrence to protect our allies in the region,” he said.

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