North Korea and South Korea test ballistic missiles: the US muted, Japan angry, and China diplomatic
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Korean Peninsula witnessed the launching of tested ballistic missiles by North Korea and South Korea within hours of each other. Japan condemned the launch by North Korea. However, America was more muted in its response.
The BBC reports, “UN resolutions ban North Korea from carrying out tests with ballistic missiles – which can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads – in efforts to curb the country’s nuclear programme.”
More surprising, the leader of South Korea, President Moon Jae-in, was rather blunt against North Korea. In the past, Moon had sought rapprochement with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Therefore, his comments were rebuked by Kim Yo Jong who is the sister of the leader of North Korea.
Moon said, that South Korea had “sufficient deterrence to respond to North Korea’s provocations at any time.”
He continued, that South Korea will continue to develop its military weapons programs to “overwhelm North Korea’s asymmetric power.”
South Korea is only the seventh nation with such advanced technology to launch a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Henceforth, North Korea will take note and the same applies to the statements of Moon.
Kim Yo Jong lambasted Moon for his statements aimed at North Korea. She said, “If the president joins in slandering the other party, it will inevitably result in counteractions, which will then be sure to lead to the complete destruction of relations between North and South Korea.”
Kim Yo Jong continued, that South Korea’s “illogical attitude that describes their similar behavior as a legitimate action to support peace, and ours as a threat to peace.”
China was very diplomatic unlike Japan while America gave a more muted response. Hence, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “For example, not only the North, but also other countries are engaging in military activities.”
Wang continued, he hopes that all nations involved will seek “peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
Japan, like usual, sought the support of America and lambasted North Korea. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the testing by North Korea was “outrageous, a threat to the peace and security of our country and the region.”
Of course, Japan – like all nations – is right to seek its natural protection. However, to ignore the significance of South Korea’s launch from a submarine and the language of Moon – even if North Korea often saber rattles – is clearly one dimensional. Yes, Japan doesn’t fear South Korea, even if relations between Japan and South Korea are tense, but the bigger picture is more complex. Therefore, Japan should seek greater accommodation with China when it comes to the Korean Peninsula question.
Irrespective of Japan opposing North Korea both Korea’s launched weapons of increasing sophistication. Equally, from the viewpoint of North Korea, how would Japan like it if China had military bases in several nations on the doorstep of Japan?
If truth be told, Japan is protected by the nuclear military umbrella of America. Hence, Japan is a nuclear power by stealth concerning Northeast Asia. Therefore, with America, China, and the Russian Federation having nuclear weapons – and South Korea modernizing its armed forces – and with Japan lauding its relationship with the nuclear nations of India and the United Kingdom that recently sent its military power to the Asia Pacific – then elites in North Korea deem their actions in view of the bigger geopolitical picture.
Significantly, America was more muted and diplomatic than Japan. Ned Price, the spokesperson of the State Department of the United States, said “We continue to believe that diplomacy is the means by which we can achieve the goal that our policy review identified, and that is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
It is hoped that the Russian Federation will continue to be an honest broker in Northeast Asia and that nations seeking to break the impasse on the Korean Peninsula will eventually succeed – even if this alluded past leaders throughout the region for many decades.
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