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North Korea's ambivalent stance puzzles Seoul
  来源:苹果apple账号注册  更新时间:2024-06-14 13:33:20
People at Seoul Station watch a TV program showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch,<strong></strong> Tuesday. North Korea launched what is suspected to be a short range missile, just four days after it released statements dropping hints at improvements in inter-Korean relations. Yonhap
People at Seoul Station watch a TV program showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch, Tuesday. North Korea launched what is suspected to be a short range missile, just four days after it released statements dropping hints at improvements in inter-Korean relations. Yonhap

Pyongyang fires short-range missile into East Sea

By Nam Hyun-woo

North Korea launched what was assumed to be a short range missile Tuesday, the same day that its envoy to the United Nations called for the U.S. and South Korea to stop their joint military exercise and withdraw their "hostile policies."

The actions seemed to present a puzzle for the Moon Jae-in administration, which has had its hopes pinned on tangible progress in the President's inter-Korean peace initiative after North Korea leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, reacted positively to Moon's call for an official end to the Korean War and hinted at a potential inter-Korean summit.

According to Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), "an unidentified projectile assumed to be a short range missile" was fired from North Korea's Jagang Province at around 6:40 a.m., and flew toward the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula.

"The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the U.S. are analyzing the specifications of the projectile," said a JCS official but refused to confirm whether it was a ballistic missile or not. Japan's Defense Ministry said the projectile was possibly a ballistic missile but gave no further details.

Reportedly, the projectile's range, velocity, trajectory and altitude were different from other North Korean ballistic or cruise missiles that have been observed of late.

Following the launch, the South Korean government held a National Security Council meeting and expressed "regret" over the launch that it said comes at a time when stability on the Korean Peninsula is important.

According to presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee, Moon was briefed about the result of the meeting and ordered a "comprehensive analysis and response to North Korea's recent statements and missile launch."

People at Seoul Station watch a TV program showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch, Tuesday. North Korea launched what is suspected to be a short range missile, just four days after it released statements dropping hints at improvements in inter-Korean relations. Yonhap
North Korea's permanent representative to United Nations Kim Song speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Monday. Courtesy of United Nations

North Korea says it tested newly developed hypersonic missile North Korea says it tested newly developed hypersonic missile 2021-09-29 08:44  |  North Korea
The launch came immediately before North Korea's permanent representative to United Nations, Kim Song, reaffirmed Pyongyang's stance that the regime would be "open" for improved relations with Washington and Seoul if the U.S. withdrew its hostile policies.

"I am convinced that good prospects will be opened for U.S.-DPRK relations and inter-Korean relations if the U.S. refrains from threatening the DPRK and gives up its hostility towards it," Kim said in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. The DPRK is an acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Kim also said the North Korea did not wish to use its power against any country. "In other words, we will neither violate nor endanger the security of the U.S., South Korea and our neighboring countries."

After the speech, Kim told reporters that his speech has no relation to the missile launch.

The speech was in line with the Kim Yo-jong's statement Friday that President Moon's proposal to put a formal end to the Korean War could be "an admirable idea" and Pyongyang had a "willingness" to talk if the U.S. and South Korea withdrew their "double-dealing standards."

The double-dealing Kim was referring to is assumed to be South Korea's test of a locally developed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, Sept. 15. When North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a train the same day, Seoul defined this move as a provocation.

Given this background, the North's call for a consistent attitude from the South could be interpreted as the regime's demand for Seoul and Washington to recognize its missile programs as its "rights to test weapons," not as military provocations. Ambassador Kim stressed in his speech: "Nobody can deny the right to self-defense for the DPRK."

Following Kim's statement, Moon didn't use the term provocation to describe Tuesday's launch, which is interpreted as a tactic to maintain his peace momentum.

"After Kim Yo-jong's statement, North Korea appeared to be contemplating whether to resume regular communication with South Korea, or to test Seoul's willingness to act as it desires by launching a missile, and the regime chose the latter," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

"It seems that the North is waiting for the moment when South Korea and the U.S. do not describe its missile launch as a threat or provocation. And such a moment could be a turning point for Pyongyang in resuming communication with Seoul and engaging in further activities for talks."

However, it remains uncertain whether the U.S. will support Moon's tactics regarding the North's actions.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that "this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies" and that the "missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK's illicit weapons program."

The Department of State condemned North Korea in a statement carried by AFP stating: "This launch is in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions."




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