A missile test can cost several million Euros. But how does North Korea finance it?

Seoul North Korea’s series of missile tests don’t seem like they will break off. This raises a question: How does the poor country pay for it? Experts believe that each North Korean missile launch, at least 23, in one week last week, could be worth between two and ten million euros.

Others believe that realistic estimates are impossible due to the country’s extreme closing North Korea Weapons could be made cheaper than in other countries because of free labor and possible clandestine support from China and Russia.

However, there is no indication that North Korea’s economic problems or its weapons program are under control. Kim Jong Un is determined that he can launch nuclear weapons strikes against South Korea and the United States to execute it if he wants to – a way to exert pressure to get concessions. A look at the financial implications of North Korea’s missile launch.

What is the cost of each test?

North Korea fired at least 29 missiles on Wednesday and Thursday last week, with more being added on Saturday (yesterday), and after an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, which has broken all previous records. Many of them were ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons that could be used to strike US and South Korean targets.

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Soo Kim, the security analyst at RAND Corporation in California, thinks a North Korean nuclear test would cost between millions and $10 million. Because wages in North Korea are much lower, this test would be less expensive than similar ones in other countries.

Kim Jong Un


Kim Jong Un, the Ruler of the Republic, is determined to show that he can carry out nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US if necessary.

(Photo: DPA)

Bruce Bennet, an expert at RAND Corporation, estimates that each of the shorter-range missiles launched last Wednesday was costing between two and three million euros.

According to him, the total cost of this day is between 50 and 75 million euros. The RFA estimates that the maximum amount North Korea could spend to import rice from China in 2019 to address the country’s grain shortages is approximately equal to this amount.

Lee Illwoo, South Korea’s Korea Defense Network, said that there is no way to determine the cost of North Korea making certain weapons parts. They could have made them or China could have given them to them for free or at a very low price.

>> Read here: Kim Arms Up – How Dangerous Is His Nuclear Program?

The September report by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyzes (Seoul) estimated that North Korea has spent the equivalent of 1.6 million euros on its nuclear program over the past 70 years. Although the report relied on analysis of other countries nuclear programs to arrive at the figures, some observers caution against using foreign data as the North Korean government doesn’t have to pay for labor and land.

How do you finance missile testing?

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated North Korea’s economic problems, but there have not been any reports of social unrest or food insecurity.

North Korea conducts military exercises

On Wednesday and Thursday, North Korea launched at most 29 missiles.

(Photo: DPA)

According to Hong Min, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, Kim Jong Un has complete control over weapons development and there are few budgetary constraints on national resources.

>> Read here North Korea launches 170 artillery rounds in a buffer zone with South Korea

He said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has opened up new opportunities for North Korea. He refers to US claims that Pyongyang secretly supplies Russia with “significant numbers” of artillery guns. In return, North Korea could seek Russian technology transfers and equipment.

What is North Korea’s win?

Kim Taewoo, former head of the Korea Institute for National Unification, said that each North Korean missile or nuclear test gives scientists “precious information” about weapons development. It also helps Kim Jong Un’s leadership. The alliance between South Korea, the USA, and Japan is also being challenged.

Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin in 2019.

Are Russia and North Korea secretly assisting each other in their tests?

(Photo: DPA)

North Korea claims that missile tests it has conducted are in response to joint maneuvers between the two countries. This is a claim it regards as an attempt to invade. With this in mind, it is likely that testing activities will continue as South Korea continues to hold maneuvers with the US.

According to Go Myong Hyun, an analyst at Asian Institute for Policy Studies, North Korea has approximately 1,000 ballistic missiles. This is more than enough for it to continue its pressure campaign after the 2024 US election. Go stated that North Korea hopes to show by 2024 that its nuclear arsenal has advanced significantly and is a greater threat than ever before.


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