North Korea Tests Its Third Missile in a Week, Despite Fresh US Penalties

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On Friday, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, defying new US restrictions. According to the JCS, the missiles were fired from inland in the western North Pyongan region.

Aside from the PM’s office and the Defense Ministry, the Japanese Coast Guard warned ships to watch for falling items.


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Attempting to Force Concession-Seeking Talks

Kim Jong Un already criticized the “gangster-like” Biden government for slapping further penalties over its missile testing; he threatened more aggressive measures if Washington maintained its hostile posture.

The bans penalized five North Koreans for securing technology and equipment for the North’s weapons programs. Washington also promised more UN sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un witnessed a hypersonic test launch on Tuesday, and stated it would considerably boost his nation’s nuclear “war deterrence.”

North Korea has begun testing new and possibly nuclear-capable missiles to overcome regional missile defenses. Others think Kim is reverting to an old tactic of strong-arming the world with ballistic missiles and bombastic threats before launching concession-seeking conversations.

A year after an exceptionally aggressive series of atomic and long-range ballistic tests showed the North’s quest for a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the US homeland, Kim began a dialogue with ex-President Trump in 2018 to use his weapons for economic gain.

Yet, following Kim’s second conference with Trump in 2019, Americans rebuffed his requests for massive sanctions easing in exchange for a partial nuclear capitulation.

Notwithstanding the country’s economy being hit hard by the virus and the US-led sanctions, Kim committed to building up his nuclear weapons.

So far, Pyongyang rebuffed the Biden government’s open-ended invitation to begin negotiations, claiming Washington must first renounce its hostile stance, which includes sanctions and joint US-South Korean military exercises.

A scholar at Ewha University in Seoul, Leif-Eric Easley, believes North Korea is sending a message that will not be overlooked.

Easley claims North Korea is aiming to trap the Biden administration. It also has missiles ready to be tested and is reacting to US pressure with more provocations to demand concessions.


Upgrading Their Arsenal

According to North Korea’s government-run Korean Central News Agency, an anonymous Foreign Ministry representative justified the launches as a legitimate act of self-defense.

The latest measures, the spokesperson added, show aggressive US resolve to isolate and stifle the North. The official said the North’s development of innovative weapons as part of its efforts to upgrade its arsenal does not target any nation or threaten its neighbors’ safety.

Due to their speed and mobility, hypersonic weapons might represent a significant threat to missile defenses. Early last year, Kim wished for multi-warhead missiles, radar systems, solid-fuel long-range missiles, and nuclear sub nukes.

Analysts think North Korea will require years of successful trials to build a viable hypersonic system.

On MSNBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the North’s newest tests were fundamentally disruptive. The US was working with essential partners at the UN, notably allies South Korea and Japan, to respond.

Blinken believes North Korea is trying to attract attention. It has done so before. It’ll probably keep doing so, but the US is very focused on defending allies and partners and holding North Korea accountable for its conduct.