The rogue nation of Kim Jong Un in North Korea continues to up the ante in the never-ending weapons program tit-for-tat. The North launched a series of missiles that were characterized as land-to-ship and defensive in nature off of its coast.
While the UN continues to impose more economic sanctions on the North, Jong’s military continues their dangerous game of cat and mouse and have been rattling their saber and tweaking the US and the South.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in who took office on May 10 has pledged to work for a peaceful solution with the North and has delayed the installation of the controversial US missile defense program THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) that China, North Korea’s chief ally particularly have issues with.
South Korea on Wednesday said it will hold off on installing remaining components of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that has angered North Korea’s main ally, China, amid early signs of easing tensions between the two countries.
The missiles were launched Thursday morning from the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan and flew about 200 km (124 miles), South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Under third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been conducting missile tests at an unprecedented pace in an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States.
Compared to the different types of ballistic missiles Pyongyang has recently tested, the missiles launched on Thursday are considered to be more defensive in nature, designed to defend against threats such as enemy warships.
North Korea unveiled a number of new weapons at a massive military parade on April 15 to mark the birth anniversary of the state’s founding leader and has since tested some of them.
“What appeared to be a new type of land-to-ship missile equipped with four launching canisters was unveiled at the parade,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. “I think this might be what was used today.”
“Obviously, the pressure China puts on South Korea has taken effect. Seoul’s will has been shaken,” the paper said. “However, attitude is not everything. Without solving the problem of THAAD, the pain it has brought to bilateral relations will not disappear, and South Korea must swallow some of the bitter results.”
China should work with Russia on counter-measures to THAAD, the Global Times added.
Asked about the latest missile test, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called for all parties to exercise restraint.
“The UN Security Council resolution has clear rules on (North Korea’s) use of ballistic missiles technologies,” she said. “All sides should work together to de-escalate tensions and take active steps to stabilize the region.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressing China aggressively to rein in North Korea, warning that all options, including a pre-emptive military strike, are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development.
The decision to delay THAAD has been seen as a sign of weakness by South Korea. The Global Times, published by China’s official People’s Daily has said “Obviously, the pressure China puts on South Korea has taken effect. Seoul’s will has been shaken,” the paper said.
“However, attitude is not everything. Without solving the problem of THAAD, the pain it has brought to bilateral relations will not disappear, and South Korea must swallow some of the bitter results.”
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Photo courtesy Reuters
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