A few days after testing suspected cruise missiles, North Korea also fired ballistic missiles again. The General Staff of the South Korean Armed Forces announced the launch of two short-range missiles with a time interval of about 20 minutes in Hamjo County in eastern North Korea, flying 450 kilometers in the direction of the sea. They would have reached an altitude of 60 kilometers. The armed forces are closely monitoring the situation in the event of further missile tests.
Another protest from South Korea and Japan
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing such missiles, which, depending on its design, could also carry a nuclear warhead. South Korea’s National Security Council Standing Committee has expressed “deep concern” about the neighboring nation’s recent test after an emergency meeting. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a “serious protest” against North Korea’s behavior. “The beginning threatens peace and stability in our country and the region, which is a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolution,” Suga said in Tokyo.
North Korea’s missile test, which was a self-proclaimed nuclear power, was the first of its kind since US President Joe Biden took office. According to observers, Pyongyang is trying to increase pressure on Washington, which it accuses of hostile policies. The United States government is currently preparing a new policy towards North Korea. The related review is nearly complete, according to government officials.
The United States with a carrot and stick
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken emphasized during a visit to Seoul last week that there are various options on the table. These included diplomatic incentives, but also measures to put more pressure on Kim Jong Un’s regime.
North Korea’s strongman Kim Jong Un and US President Joe Biden – will they be able to reach a political understanding?
According to South Korea, North Korea fired only two suspected short-range cruise missiles on the west coast last Sunday. The United States also confirmed the test, but Biden put his significance in perspective. Guided missile tests are not subject to the sanctions imposed on the divided country. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles have their own permanent propulsion system. At a low altitude of less than a hundred meters, its location is difficult to locate by the corresponding radar.
The leadership in Pyongyang has been promoting its missile program for many years. The focus is on developing ballistic missiles, including long-range missiles, that could reach the United States. In addition, the isolated communist state is developing other weapons systems, including guided weapons. Negotiations between North Korea and the United States over North Korea’s nuclear program have not progressed in two years.
sti / se (afp, dpa, rtr)