South Korea has new worries as its neighbor North Korea prepares to test weapons on the peninsula, allegedly the first since 2017.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, apparently able to reach as far as American cities. On Wednesday, a suspected ballistic missile exploded in mid air, after reaching an altitude of 12 miles.
South Korea is also planning to test its own weapon capabilities and will be testing a solid-fuel space rocket. South Korea also has plans of developing satellites for military use – monitoring the actions of North Korea being the top priority.
The United States will be undertaking joint military exercises with South Korea and both countries view the isolated Communist nation as “hostile.”
According to South Korean officials, Pyongyang may be able successfully complete an ICBM test and U.S officials are concerned about the two tests already conducted by North Korea – used to test out parts of the new system of which they said were “space launches” – before they do a full launch of a new ICBM.
South Korea is about to get a new President and he has vowed to take a harder line with North Korea and this could be the beginning of rocky relations between the two nations.
Of course, Kim is looking to take advantage of the fact that the United States is currently distracted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Japanese defense and U.S military officials said that the projectile that North Korea launched on Wednesday, could have possibly been a ballistic missile.
The launch took place in the same location as the previous two launches, near Pyongyang’s Sunan area, according to South Korean military officials.
A researcher at California’s Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, Melissa Hanham dismissed concerns about North Korea’s new found fire power:
“Their recent SLV [space launch vehicle] launches make a lot of analysts suspect that they are testing new ICBM capabilities without the political burden of calling them ICBM tests,”
“North Korea genuinely fears for its security from the South, the U.S., and Japan. ICBMs and a nuclear program makes them feel they can deter regime change and forced reunification.”
Four years have passed since North Korea tested weapons capable of reaching the American mainland, and America now has a “new” president – something Kim Jong Un would appreciate, since Trump didn’t take any nonsense.
North Korea briefly turned attention towards developing and building short-to-immediate-range missiles – able to strike any enemies within the region as well as U.S forces who are stationed there. This close proximity gives North Korea the opportunity to flex about newly acquired weapons, without actually getting into trouble with the U.S.
Kim currently has a five-year weapons plan and Pyongyang is conducting multiple tests. In January, North Korea also hinted that they were considering lifting its self-imposed moratorium on both nuclear and long-range weapons. In response, America has put even more sanctions on Kim’s regime.