Will North Korea’s provocations succeed in imposing diplomacy with America?

Extending the provocation in weapons tests this year, North Korea launched a barrage of short-range ballistic missiles from several countries toward the sea. on its east coast, Sunday 5 June, In its biggest single test, a day after South Korea and the United States completed joint military exercises.

These tests are likely to culminate with an imminent nuclear test, as intelligence officials in South Korea and the United States have uncovered North Korea’s efforts to prepare its Northeast nuclear test ground for a new test. nuclear.

If implemented, the test would be the seventh since 2006 and the first since September 2017, when North Korea claimed it had detonated a thermonuclear bomb to fit its ICBMs.

Quick response recording

North Korea reached a record number of missile launches in one day, launching eight consecutive missiles over a 35-minute period, from four different locations, including the west and east coastal regions, and two inland regions north of the capital. Phenian.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea and US forces, the missiles flew between 110 and 670 kilometers, at altitudes of 25 to 80 kilometers.

Hours after the launch, Japan and the United States held joint exercises aimed at demonstrating “rapid response capability” and “strong determination” to deal with threats, according to a statement from Japan’s Ministry of Defense.

In the early hours of this morning, Monday, June 6, the U.S. and South Korean armies fired eight ballistic missiles into the sea, in a show of force matching the northern latitude. Allied exercises included eight missiles (one American and seven South Korean).

The missiles were fired into the eastern waters of South Korea within ten minutes following reports of air and naval security, according to the chiefs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea and US forces in South Korea.

And the South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted the South Korean military as saying the move was evidence of “the ability and readiness to carry out precision strikes” against the source of the missile launch in North Korea or its command and support centers.

While Leif Eric Easley, professor of international studies at the University of Iowa in Seoul, South Korea, stressed that South Korea’s current missile defense is insufficient against the growing threat of North Korea.

A missile was fired during a joint exercise between the United States and South Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea in response to North Korea – Monday, June 6, 2022 (Yonhap)

“hostile politics”

Departures came a day after US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan ended which weighs 100,000 tons, and is powered by nuclear energy, Three days of naval exercises with South Korea in the Philippine Sea, in the first joint exercises involving an aircraft carrier since January 2017, as countries move to modernize their defense exercises in the Philippine Sea, in the face of threats from North Korea.

The exercises included air defense operations, fighting ships and submarines, and naval deterrence operations in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa, and South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed that the exercises “strengthened the two countries’ determination to “Responded resolutely to any North Korean provocations.”

North Korea has long condemned the Allies ‘joint military exercises as an “occupation” exercise and criticized previous exercises as an example of Washington’s continued “hostile policies” toward Pyongyang, despite Washington’ s talk of diplomacy.

North Korea has frequently encountered preventive missile drills, including short-range tests in 2016 and 2017 to simulate nuclear attacks on South Korean ports and U.S. military facilities in Japan.

The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and the South Korean Marado helicopter departed, sailing during a joint military exercise in an undisclosed location – Saturday, June 4, 2022 (South Korean Ministry of Defense)

While discussing the release with national security officials, South Korean President Yun Seok-yeol complained that North Korea had fired rapid missiles once every nine days this year and vowed to strengthen the country’s defense in cooperation with the United States. . in his office.

Earlier Sunday, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kiichi called North Korea’s multiple missile launches an “intolerable” act and said at a news conference that at least one missile had a variable trajectory, showing its capability. to maneuver to avoid missile defenses.

when the cat is absent, the mouse plays freely

As Biden was heading to South Korea on May 20, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States had coordinated with Seoul and Tokyo on how to respond if North Korea conducted a nuclear test or rocket attack while Biden was. in the region, or immediately after departure.

Biden dismissed questions about any possible provocation from North Korea during his trip, saying: “We are ready for anything North Korea can do.”

Hours after Biden ended his trip to Asia on May 25, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to protecting its allies in the face of North Korea’s nuclear threat, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and two ballistic missiles with short range of action at sea.

Following the launch, the South Korean government issued a statement saying North Korea’s continued provocations could only lead to stronger and faster joint prevention with the United States and deepen North’s international isolation.

In response to Allied “striking” capabilities, the South Korean and U.S. military fired two surface-to-surface missiles, according to a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A surface-to-surface missile was fired during a joint direct fire drill between the United States and South Korea at an unknown location in South Korea – May 25, 2022 (Yonhap)

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said earlier that “missile launches underscore the destabilizing impact of North Korea’s illegal weapons program,” stressing that its commitment to protecting South Korea and Japan “remains firm.” .

North Korea has continued its latest trend of not reporting missile launches to state media, which some analysts said aims to show the tests are part of routine military exercises, according to Reuters.

Dormant negotiations threaten to erupt

Last week, the United States demanded the imposition of additional international sanctions on North Korea over its latest ballistic tests on May 25, but prospects for new sanctions seemed bleak as permanent members of the UN Security Council United split. for the Associated News Agency. Press “.

In addition, China and Russia vetoed the proposal, insisting that Washington focus instead on resuming negotiations with Pyongyang, and the “veto” led to a public split in the Security Council over North Korea for the first time since it began sanction it in 2006. When North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.

Japan’s Director-General for Asia-Pacific Affairs Funakoshi Takehiro complained about the Security Council’s failure to respond to recent northern tests, noting that this year’s series of ballistic tests and possible preparations for nuclear tests underline the need for a stronger international response.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since 2019, due to disagreements over the return of tough US-led sanctions for steps to disarm Korea.

But the US special envoy to North Korea, Kim Song, said during his visit to South Korea on June 3 that Washington had made it very direct to Pyongyang that it was open to diplomacy, noting that he was ready to discuss issues of interest. to Pyongyang, such as easing sentences.

Nuclear Doctrine in Prague

Despite deepening economic woes, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has shown no willingness to completely give up on an arsenal he sees as the strongest guarantee of survival and is clearly trying to turn the dormant talks of denuclearization in joint negotiations for reciprocal arms reductions with the United States. states.

In parallel, Jong Un has expanded his ballistic missile program amid a diplomatic halt and the nuclear test will escalate his border policy aimed at establishing North Korea as a nuclear power and negotiating economic and security concessions.

Jong’s ICBMs have received considerable international attention, except in the last three years in which he has expanded his arsenal of short-range solid-fuel missiles threatening South Korea and Japan.

His tests were prompted by frequent comments that North Korea would use its nuclear weapons proactively when threatened or provoked, warning of an escalating nuclear doctrine that raises even greater concerns for its neighbors.

From his experiences, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un aims to force the United States to accept the North as a nuclear power and negotiate economic and security concessions.

“18th Round” and nuclear test

The unusual pace of North Korea’s weapons tests this year included the launch of an ICBM last March, which was its first since 2017, and described the launch as a display of its largest missile, the Hwasong -17.

The missile flew higher and longer than any weapon I have ever tested, demonstrating its potential to reach all of U.S. territory.

The latest launches marked the 18th round of Northern missile tests in 2022 alone, a series that included the country’s first ICBM demonstrations in nearly five years.

The launches demonstrate North Korea’s determination to move forward with its efforts to modernize its weapons arsenals, despite the outbreak of the “Corona Emerging” virus (Covid-19) in the country.

According to Leif Eric Easley, professor of international studies at the University of Iowa at Seoul, if the coronavirus is raging in the country, “this is not the best time for Jong Un to get domestic political credit for a nuclear test.”

He described state propaganda in declaring victory over Corona as likely to be the first, but said North Korea was likely to conduct its seventh nuclear test before returning to diplomacy. ”.

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