In A Tense Standoff With Kim Jong Un, Biden Launches A US Missile

In a dangerous battle, the US, North Korea, and South Korea have all test-fired missiles, signalling a sudden rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula.

On Sunday, the North began the conflict by shooting eight short-range missiles into the sea off the eastern coast, the most ever launched in a single day, confronting both South Korea and the US’s new conservative president. On Monday, South Korea and the United States retaliated by shooting eight missiles into the same sea some 90 miles south.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to authorise the North’s seventh nuclear test in the coming days, according to Washington and Seoul. It would be the first time it had done so in five years.

As per Daniel Pinkston, a Troy University South Korean campus foreign affairs lecturer, the missile test reprisal means “the era of fake reality Television politics of the last five years is over.” That was a link to Donald Trump’s four-year conference with Kim in Singapore, during which he notably stated they “fell madly in love,” as well as three summits among Moon Jae-in and Kim, who came into office last month pledging no further appeasement of the North.

“In the South and along the peninsula, we’ll see a ‘regular’ integrated, and international military drill tempo,” Pinkston said, adding that the USSouth Korea exercise “demonstrated a few of the alliance’s hitting capacity and resolve.” “If deterrent fails,” he added, “the United States and the Republic of Korea’s militaries will be better poised to respond to North Korean aggression.”

After the United States and South Korean warships finished joint operations near Okinawa, the southern Japanese territory where the US has its greatest air base in the Pacific and also a division of troops, Kim fired a missiles barrage in a stinging threat to South Korean President Yoon. After North Korea’s sixth and also most latest nuclear test, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which has a flight deck filled with planes, actively participated in the first such drill since it sailed through coastal waters of South Korea in 2017.

The North Korean threat came in response to a notice by US negotiator Sung Kim who said the US was “preparing for all possibilities… to reinforce both defence and deterrence and to safeguard our friends.” South Korean and Japanese envoys meeting here were reassured that the US was prepared to send jets on alert flights near North Korea and perform joint military exercises with the ROK, which Trump suspended following his summit with Kim in Singapore.

“The North Korean leadership is fearful of the ROK-US Alliance’s capabilities,” said Robert Collins, who spent a long career in the army and subsequently as a civilian investigating North Korea for the US Forces Korea command. North Korea’s “predilection for accusation and alerting shots, coupled with their propaganda/information wars, is the Kim regime’s tactic to keep the partnership at bay and take full advantage of any misjudgement in intelligence assessments,” according to Collins, an author of books and studies on the country.

North Korea launched missiles from four locations, including at or near Pyongyang’s airport. This is Kim’s 18th test flight of missiles in the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan this year. President Biden returned to D.C. from Tokyo on May 26 after meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Yoon of South Korea, with whom he agreed to resume joint military exercises. The US and South Korea retaliated by shooting two missiles off the south’s northeast coast in a “live-fire exercise,” according to the US command.

This time, the fusillade was emphasised by a missile that, according to South Korea’s command, was inspired by the Russian Iskander weapon placed within 30 miles of the Ukrainian border. According to Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, the North Korean equivalent, the KN-23, is “renowned for its ‘pull-up manoeuvre,’ meant to elude interception.”

“These launches appear to be a warning from North Korea to South Korea’s new president to reduce his involvement in military drills with the US and avoid growing too comfortable with Japan,” mentioned Steve Tharp, an ex-army colonel in charge of the US command here. “With President Yoon’s government following up with pro-US and anti-North Korean language and deeds, the North will have to start over when it comes to pulling the South into line.”

As part of their usual negotiating cycle, North Korea is expected to ” In the next months, increase military provocative actions and try to ratchet up tensions both with South and the US,” according to Tharp. “The first step is to create an ‘appearance’ of tension. North Korea raised the stakes by shooting eight missiles on what was their busiest launch day ever to effectively create tension.”

While combating COVID-19 rampant among a population that is 40% underfed, has almost no access to health services, and is completely unvaccinated, the South Korean reaction may have been greater and quicker than Kim Jong Un expected.

“This was an appropriate (tit for tat) response to emphasise the ROK-US Alliance’s toughness and deterrence capability,” Tharp told the Daily Beast. “Given President Yoon’s words emphasising that he would react severely to North Korean provocations, I’m guessing the Korean side pushed for this.”
All of the missiles launched by the ROK military’s strategic missile systems were ground-to-ground, as per South Korean joint chiefs of staff. The exercise included both South Korean and American soldiers, although only one of the 8 missiles was American. As per the Korean statement, the purpose was to show the ability to strike “the origins of provocative actions, as well as their control and supporting forces,” especially North Korean sites along the North-South boundary, where half of the North’s 1.2 million soldiers are located.

The tests were linked to North Korea’s attempts to expand devices capable of transporting small nuclear bombs, according to Tom Coyner, who has been watching the country from here for years. “In the future, we might find partnership by pairing several, tiny nuclear testing with these smaller rocket launches,” he said.

This threat “should drive the American and South Korean administrations to accelerate efforts to offer various types of ‘iron dome’ securities for Seoul and other population centres, as well as US personnel and assets,” according to Coyner. If Kim were to “relaunch the Korean War,” the Biden government should ” recall Pyongyang that the US is still better with its threat to demolish the North.”

President Yoon was in agreement. “North Korea’s missile and nuclear (programmes) are nearing the point where they are endangering not just the peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the safety in Northeast Asia and the rest of the globe,” he said, as per Yonhap. “We will ensure that our people’s lives and wealth are protected without a single flaw.”