November 04, 2022 10:38
North Korea's frenzied barrage of missile and artillery launches in recent days could have paid for a year's rice imports for the impoverished country, experts estimate.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia on Thursday, Bruce Bennett of the conservative RAND Corporation estimated the cost of the 25 missiles fired on Wednesday alone at US$50-75 million given that each costs $2 to 3 million.
In 2019, the North imported $70 million worth of rice from China.
"The actual cost of North Korean missiles might be lower than the international level, considering that they're making missiles by overtaxing manpower and squeezing materials," a military officer here speculated. "The latest provocations show that they're in a desperate situation."
The North has been in serious economic difficulties since a total border lockdown early in the coronavirus pandemic. Yoo Seong-ok, a former chief of the Institute for National Security Strategy, said, "The North is launching provocations to create a warlike atmosphere and quell domestic discontent with economic difficulties."
The provocations are clearly aimed at gaining the maximum international attention, with missiles being fired in the direction of South Korea and Japan and including an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland.
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