Tensions on the Korean peninsula are increasing significantly. North Korea has issued threats in response to US determination to better protect Japan and South Korea.
North Korea fired another missile after threatening the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan. South Korea’s military detected the launch of a short-range ballistic missile from the east coast of North Korea on Thursday morning (local time), the general staff in Seoul said. The rocket flew about 240 kilometers towards the open sea.
Shortly before, South Korea had held a “pre-planned” naval missile defense exercise with the United States, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing the top command.
South Korea’s general staff accused the largely isolated neighboring country of provocation. UN resolutions prohibit the self-declared nuclear power from testing ballistic missiles. Depending on the design, these can be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui has previously threatened to take tougher military action in response to US determination to strengthen its military presence for the security of South Korea and Japan. The minister quoted the state media as saying that the more eagerly the United States pursued its offer to expand “extended deterrence” and the more intensive its military activities in the region, the more violent the military countermeasures would be. She did not say exactly what the measures could look like. She accused the United States of “gambling”. She accused neighboring South Korea and Japan of behaving as Washington’s vassals.
Choe alluded to US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol last Sunday. At the three-way meeting on the sidelines of the summit of the Southeast Asian association of states Asean in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Biden had criticized North Korea’s provocative behavior. He also reiterated his country’s determination to step up “enhanced deterrence.” By this, the US understands the “full range” of its capabilities to defend South Korea and Japan – including nuclear weapons.
Apec summit is imminent
Thursday’s missile test also came ahead of the start of this week’s Asia-Pacific (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to US Vice President Kamala Harris, Kishida and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck Soo will also attend the summit.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula are currently increasing significantly again. Since the beginning of the year, there have already been more than 50 North Korean missile tests – in early November alone, South Korea’s military recorded more than 25, including an ICBM. The recent missile tests were also seen as a response to joint maneuvers by South Korean and American forces. Experts fear that tensions will continue to escalate and that even the slightest miscalculation on either side could have the most dangerous consequences.