You could say this was North Korea flexing its muscle and reminding the world that they have no intention of being ignored.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s military reported that their hostile northern neighbor fired off another ballistic missile into the sea, off its east coast. It’s not likely that the timing, as it was – just ahead of a summit between the U.S. and Chinese leaders – was coincidence.
The reported topic of discussion is the aggressive pursuit of arms by Pyongyang.
The missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) from its launch site at Sinpo, a port city on North Korea’s east coast, the South Korean Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. Sinpo is home to a North Korean submarine base.
“The launch took place possibly in consideration of the U.S. -China summit, while at the same time it was to check its missile capability,” a South Korean official told Reuters about the military’s initial assessment of the launch.
The missile was fired at a high angle and reached an altitude of 189 km (117 miles), the official said.
Any launch of objects using ballistic missile technology is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The North has defied the ban, saying it infringes on its sovereign rights to self-defense and the pursuit of space exploration.
The facts are, to put not too fine a point on it, North Korea is ran by a vicious, unstable megalomaniac. He feels his race for advanced arms is his duty, and he often makes thinly veiled threats against the west, that amount to a lot of saber-rattling.
The North is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could hit the United States and its leader, Kim Jong Un, has vowed to test-launch one at any time.
To date, most attempts end up in the sea and officials believe they’ve still got some work to do, in order to achieve the technology to make an ICBM possible.
Still, the pursuit of such weapons is not something you want to see happen from such a power-mad little troll.
The launch drew swift condemnation from Japan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying further provocative action was possible.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the launch as “extremely problematic” and said Tokyo had lodged a strong protest.
South Korea’s foreign ministry also condemned the launch as a blunt challenge to a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions targeting North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. Seoul called a National Security Council meeting and vowed to respond strongly in case of further provocations.
The response from the U.S. was somewhat less impressive, unfortunately.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our nation’s top diplomat, had this to say:
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”
I mentioned something a week or two ago about Tillerson’s rather ho-hum approach to his job.
I think we’ve reached peak ho-hum.
Perceived disinterest can be as disastrous as perceived weakness.
Let’s hope the meetings between U.S. and Chinese leaders yields an agreeable strategy for dealing with North Korea, before they actually do get close to their goal.