The United Nations has condemned the North Korean regime for its recent launch of ballistic missiles as the communist country flexes its muscles amid the current stalemate scenario with the United States regarding denuclearization and normalization of relations.
“We’ve obviously seen this launch,’ said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “We’re very concerned, the Secretary-General is very concerned about this latest development and reiterates his call on the leadership in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to comply fully with its international obligations under all relevant Security Council resolutions and will resume talks with the other parties concerned about the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
“As we’ve said again, we are convinced and believe that diplomatic engagement is the only way to reach a sustainable peace and a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
North Korean media reported a successful launch of a “hypersonic” missile on Jan. 5, which apparently maneuvered 75 miles laterally before it traveled 435 miles to “precisely” hit its target. The governments of Japan and South Korea claimed that it was a ballistic missile, and not hypersonic.
Hypersonic weapons fly faster than sound, at around 3,850 mph in lower altitudes. As such, they’re harder to intercept and more deadly than ballistic missiles.
Another missile was launched on Jan. 11, which is purported to have been another ballistic launch.
Neighboring South Korea detected the missile launch from northern Jagang Province into the sea off North Korea’s eastern coast on Jan. 11, while Japan’s Defense Ministry claims the missile landed just outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“The [South Korean] military is maintaining a readiness posture while closely monitoring related trends under close cooperation between [South Korea] and the U.S. in preparation for additional launches,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
“That North Korea continues to launch missiles is extremely regrettable,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
With back-to-back launches, some analysts are saying the first one might not have been a success. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has continued his aggressive military stance amid pandemic-related difficulties and strained international relations.
While the Biden administration has welcomed open talks with North Korea without any preconditions, the regime has brushed off the invitations, saying the United States must begin by withdrawing all sanctions and halting joint military drills with South Korea.
“Even with North Korea’s pandemic border lockdowns restricting trade and diplomacy, Pyongyang is determined to run an arms race against Seoul and deny Washington the luxury of focusing on Russia and China,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in the South Korean capital, told The Associated Press.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said that the intimidating missile launches didn’t pose an “immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies.”
However, some flight departures at U.S. West Coast airports were temporarily paused following the second missile launch. The Federal Aviation Administration said on Jan. 11 the order was given as a precautionary measure, and operations resumed after 15 minutes.