South Korea fired a missile from a submarine and raised tension with the North

South Korea successfully fired a ballistic missile from a submarine, which makes it the eighth country in the world to possess such advanced technology and raises questions about an arms race in the region. Essay, overseen by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, It took place hours after neighboring North Korea fired two short-range rockets that hit the Sea of ​​Japan.

South Korea seeks to counter the threat posed by North Korea, a country that is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. This exchange of pitches occurs at a time when dialogue on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula remains stalled since the failed 2019 Hanoi summit.

North Korean trials

It all started on Wednesday morning when North Korea launched “two short-range ballistic missiles” from the shores of Pyongyang province. The projectiles flew about 800 kilometers before fall into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)sources from the North Korean Defense Ministry added.

The last time the North Korean government had fired a ballistic missile was in late March, when it tested what appeared to be a new version of its KN-23 projectile, capable of tracing trajectories that were very difficult to intercept. The UN punishes the launches of missiles of this style by North Korea based on the resolutions passed in response to its development of weapons of mass destruction. On Monday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had announced successful trials of a new model of “long-range cruise missile.”

According to analysts, beyond the conflict with South Korea, the shooting of North Korea is also a clear signal to China, power with which it has a complex relationship. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not visited Chinese territory for more than six years since he came to power succeeding his father Kim Jong Il.

Seoul’s response

A few hours after the North Korean rehearsal and in an unusual gesture, South Korea announced that it had just launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, a test conducted in the coastal county of Taean, about 100 kilometers southwest of Seoul. The rehearsal was witnessed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The presidential office limited itself to saying in a statement that the projectile flew the expected distance and “accurately” struck the marked target. Although President Moon assured that the test was not in response to the North Korean launch, the moment and form chosen seem to indicate that Seoul seeks to send a message of strength to Pyongyang but also to its population, given that there will be presidential elections in March next year. .

This was not actually Seoul’s first successful test of such a launch, as military sources leaked to the media that a successful first test took place two weeks ago. This makes South Korea the eighth country with the ability to launch missiles from submarines., a list also made up of the United States, Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom, France and North Korea.

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A few hours after the South Korean rehearsal, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, accused President Moon of “slander”. Seoul has an “illogical attitude that describes its behavior as a legitimate action in support of peace and ours as a threat to peace,” the woman said in a statement released by North Korea’s KCNA news agency.

Truncated dialogue in the region

This arms escalation comes at a time when the denuclearization dialogue has remained stalled since the failed 2019 Hanoi summit, in which the United States deemed North Korea’s disarmament offer insufficient and refused to lift sanctions. Washington insisted in recent months that it will meet Pyongyang without preconditions “where and when” to try to rekindle the talks, but at the moment there seems to have been no response from the Kim Jong-un government.

At the same time, North Korea again broke telephone communications with the South in August after Seoul and Washington went ahead with their summer military exercises, and has so far also rejected offers for dialogue and humanitarian assistance from the Moon government.

The missile tests also coincided with the visit to Seoul of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who stressed precisely the importance of all the countries involved in the Korean peninsula reducing their military activities to “contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.” Wang insisted on pointing out that “not only North Korea, but also other countries are carrying out military activities” in the region.

Reactions to attacks

The US government highlighted on Wednesday that North Korea violated UN Security Council resolutions by firing two ballistic missiles into the sea, but he reiterated his willingness to dialogue with Pyongyang. “The United States condemns North Korea’s missile launch, (…) poses a threat to your neighbors and other members of the international community“said a State Department spokesman. However, Joe Biden’s administration has so far not referred to the trials of its ally South Korea.

For his part the government of Japan confirmed and condemned the North Korean trial. “The recent and repeated launches of ballistic missiles and other projectiles by North Korea are a serious problem for Japan and the international community as a whole,” denounced the Defense Ministry in tune with the United States. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called a meeting of the National Security Council and asked the Japanese government to gather information on the matter while ensuring the safety of air and maritime traffic.

The russian government, while, called on Pyongyang and Seoul to “avoid any kind of action that may lead to increased tension“In his daily press conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stressed that the Russian military” naturally follows the situation in the area with the utmost attention. “

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