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North Korea Expected to Do Fewer Missile Tests

North Korea Expected to Do Fewer Missile Tests

This picture taken on July 4, 2017, and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 5, 2017, shows the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 October 2017 05:53 PM

North Korea is expected to do fewer missile tests for the rest of the year, according to a report that examined the country's past record of missile tests, USA Today reported.

The report cites calculations made by Shea Cotton, a North Korea expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, who has concluded that fewer missile tests are conducted by the regime during the final three months of the year when compared with other periods.

Cotton has tracked Pyongyang's military activity via a database that he built.

According to his calculations based on the past five years, North Korea's missile test frequency has averaged 0.8 in the fourth quarter, a stark drop in the 4.3 test frequency measured during the first quarter, 4.8 in the second and 4.2 in the third quarters, USA Today reported.

Cotton posted a series of tweets in which he shed some light on the drop-off in missile testing.

"It's been 38 days since the last DPRK missile test," he noted.

"This is the longest gap in tests we've seen since DPRK started tests on Feb 12 this year. In April and May, North Korea was testing missiles at a rate of about 1 per week. This 38 day gap is a big slowdown from that. So why the drop off? I'm not sure, but this drop off is not unique to just 2017. We've observed it every year since KJU took power."

Cotton said the final three months of every year have seen a big drop-off in tests, adding that he suspects this occurs because North Korea spends its resources in the fall on the harvest or other winter preparations.

These new calculations come amid mounting tension between President Donald Trump and North Korea over its nuclear program.

The U.S. president is about to embark upon a 12-day trip to Asia during which he is expected to pressure world leaders to help curb North Korea's nuclear weapons program, NBC affiliate WBIR-TV noted.

However, Cotton pointed out that the drop in missile testing activity was not likely due to Trump's stance but more likely because Kim Jong Un was "staying on schedule."

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North Korea is expected to do fewer missile tests for the rest of the year, according to a report that examined the country's past record of missile tests, USA Today reported.
north korea, missile, tests, drop
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2017-53-25
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 05:53 PM
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