For the first time since 2009, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan – likely in response to provocative US/South Korean military exercises (and US/Japanese ones) the DPRK believes are preparations for war.
Reportedly the missile flew around 2,700 km, reaching a maximum height of 550 km over Japan before breaking up and falling harmlessly into waters around 1,180 km east of Hokkaido.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’ll “demand convening an emergency (Security Council) meeting.” Washington and South Korea also called for one.
Hours after the test, South Korean war planes conducted a provocative bombing drill, President Moon Jae-in’s press secretary saying it was ordered as the nation’s security council discussed possible counter-measures against the DPRK.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Rex Tillerson discussed imposing additional sanctions on Pyongyang.
A Tuesday Security Council meeting is planned. Whether China and Russia will agree to further tough sanctions is unknown.
They’re ineffective in halting Pyongyang’s development of a deterrent against feared US aggression – the reason for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, for defense, not offense.
Beijing and Moscow support a “double freeze (dual suspension)” – Pyongyang agreeing to suspend further ballistic missile tests along with Washington, South Korea and Japan halting joint military exercise, a proposal the Trump administration rejects, continuing heightened tensions instead of cooling things down as a first step toward ending brinksmanship on the Korean peninsula.
Tuesday’s test followed three short-range missiles test-fired on Saturday – two traveling about 250 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan harmlessly, the third reportedly exploding shortly after launch.
China prioritizes peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. Washington’s rage for endless conflicts makes war possible, resolving nothing, risking the lives and welfare of millions of North and South Koreans if launched, Japanese ones as well.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Moon’s government was considering deployment of strategic defense equipment in response to Pyongyang’s latest test, along with possible other response options.
South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo left for Washington to meet with James Mattis, HR McMaster and top US Pentagon officials, saying:
“I will discuss prospects of reacting (to the DPRK missile tests) with the US Secretary of Defense and US National Security Adviser in the White House.”
Separate South Korean meetings will be held with US Pacific Command head Admiral Harry Harris and US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned that things are “at a tipping point approaching a crisis. At the same time there is an opportunity to reopen peace talks.”
North Korean missile and other tests are for military readiness. They’d be unnecessary if Washington engaged in responsible diplomacy with the DPRK instead of continuing decades of hostility.
America is to blame for brinksmanship on the Korean peninsula, not Pyongyang. Resolution is unattainable as long as US imperial aims remain unchanged.