An Update on North Korea’s ongoing Provocations

North Korea’s missile tests seem not to come to an end although the US military has already strengthened its presence near the Korean Peninsula. North Korea voiced its intention to attack Guam, where US military bases are located. The Japanese Self Defense-Forces accordingly deployed PAC-3 missiles on the expected route North Korean missiles would fly to Guam. However, North Korea launched a missile in a northerly direction on 29 August 2017 which entered the Pacific Ocean space after flying over the northern Japanese island Hokkaido. It was reported that it might also be a test of the multiple interdependently-targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV). If this missile definitely was a MIRV one, intercepting it would surely be difficult. The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reiterated his intention of attacking Guam. The US military surveillance only spotted the missile because it used liquid instead of solid fuel. That is why Japan could sound such a speedy alarm (four minutes after the missile’s take-off) for the citizens living in the northern parts of Japan.

US president Trump and Japan’s Prime Minster Abe agreed to put more pressure on North Korea; nonetheless, economic sanctions against North Korea seemingly do not work. North Korea still gets fuel for missile tests and money transactions might still be working. China and Russia most likely still support North Korea regarding both energy and economics (as well as probably technology).

As long as China and Russia perceive a need for a buffer zone on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea could remain. But this is not to say that North Korea must be ruled by Kim Jong-un. It is quite inconceivable to imagine Kim Jong-un giving up his nuclear capabilities. If today’s North Korea remains, it simply means the USA, China and Russia accept its nuclear capabilities. In any case though, North Korea needs to stop further technical missile developments. The offensive military strike powers of America, China and Russia are far greater than North Korea’s. As long as Kim Jong-un is rational, he will not fire missiles against these superpowers, but against South Korea and Japan. Should North Korea continue missile tests to improve the technology in order to better bluff, these missiles would have to be fired in Japan’s direction because this is the most safe area owing to the fact that Japan cannot react with force due to its constitution.

South Korea and Japan are allied with the USA, but that might not be assurance enough that North Korea stops threatening them. As long as no missiles can be fired against the US homeland and territories, America would not engage desperately to defend its Northeast Asian allies. As for South Korea, the possibility of being attacked by its northern neighbor might be negligible since South Korea’s president is pro-North Korea. Concerning Japan, on the other hand, it would be high time to revamp the defenses.

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