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North Korea continues testing ballistic missiles

The South Korean military reported that North Korea is continuing their testing of ballistic missiles. Today, the North fired a missile from land into the Sea of Japan to the East of the country. This act is only the latest transgression, in a series of many, amidst escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Seoul’s Joint Chief of Staff reported that an “unidentified ballistic missile” was fired from near the city of Sinpo, and that South Korean and American intelligence agencies were closely analysing the event to get as many details as possible. The President of South Korea also convened a meeting of the National Security Council.

Sinpo is the site of a major North Korean naval base. Satellite imagery has shown many ships anchored here, as well as submarines. The North has increasingly been trying to build its navy, and is in the process of developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile. This kind of technology would enable the North Korean military to potentially strike anywhere that its submarines could sail, as opposed to being limited to firing missiles from land. They have already conducted some underwater launches, although experts believe that these missiles were likely launched from submerged platforms as opposed to submarines.

These technological developments are part of the current arms race between North and South Korea. The South has recently developed its own submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and has also revealed their creation of a supersonic cruise missile.

North Korea has been conducting massive displays of strength over the last few weeks. They have tested long-range cruise missiles, train-launched weaponry and hypersonic warheads, as well as showcasing intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons during military parades throughout the year. This saber rattling by the North has led to major international sanctions and the further isolation of the already destitute nation. The regime claims that it needs these weapons to defend itself against invasion.

Leader of the North Kim Jong Un blames the United States for the increased tension in the region. US special representative on North Korea, Sung Kim responded that the US has been trying to negotiate peacefully with the North, and hopes to make some diplomatic progress.

We will seek diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States and our allies…We harbour no hostile intent toward the DPRK and we are hopeful to meet with them without conditions.”

But Sung added that the global community has a responsibility to implement and enforce UN Security Council resolutions, including the sanctions against North Korea. American Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden both have worked with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in towards finding a diplomatic avenue through which they could dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programme. But, they say these talks have not achieved much.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Luke Albers

Luke Albers is a writer from the United States. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelors degree in political science and a certificate in peace, conflict and security studies. He has lived and worked in Africa and India, and now calls Thailand home. Luke loves to use his writing to connect with new people and places.