N.Korea Squandered $650 Million Firing Missiles This Year

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    June 09, 2022 12:59

    The total cost of the 33 missiles North Korea has fired so far this year amounts to somewhere between US$400 and 650 million. That would buy the impoverished country enough COVID vaccines for its entire population of some 25 million and nearly solve its food shortage this year.

    The North has fired six long-range ballistic missiles, one medium-range Hwasong-12 missile, and 26 short-range missiles, including KN-23 Iskander missiles, since early this year.

    The Korea Institute for Defense Analyses estimates the total cost of those missiles at between $400 and 650 million, including the cost for materials (50 to 80 percent), personnel cost (10 to 30 percent), and other expenses (10 to 20 percent).

    The cost of firing each long-range ballistic missile is estimated at between W25 and 37.5 billion, each medium-range missile at between W12.5 and 37.5 billion, and each short-range missile at between W3.8 and 6.3 billion (US$1=W1,257).


    The North seems to be focusing on testing new missiles it has developed since 2017. Each Scud or Rodong missile, the older mainstays of the North, cost somewhere between W1 and 2 billion.

    With that money the North Korean regime could buy up to 32.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines for the entire North Korean population. The amount is also equal to the cost of buying 510,000 to 840,000 tons of rice at Pyongyang market prices, which could almost make up for its shortage of 860,000 tons of rice this year.

    "This shows that the regime's wrongful policy is responsible for North Korean people’s poor health and poverty," People Power Party lawmaker Shin Won-sik of the National Assembly's Defense Committee said. "It's wrong to think we should give unconditional assistance to the North."

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