This week, North Korea launched a ballistic missile just hours after it threatened a “fiercer” military response to the United States amid its growing cooperation with South Korea and Japan.
According to CNN:
“Seoul, South Korea, CNN – North Korea tested a ballistic missile on Thursday as it warned the United States of a ‘fiercer military counteraction’ to Washington’s bolstered defense ties with South Korea and Japan amid rising regional tensions.
“In a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said the US’ strengthening of extended deterrence to allies in the region ‘is gambling for which it will certainly regret.’
“The greater the US defense presence in the region, ‘the fiercer (North Korean) military counteraction will be, in direct proportion to it,’ Choe said.”
This latest strike follows several missile launches during the months of October and November.
As reported by the AP:
“The missile fired from the North’s eastern coastal Wonsan area at 10:48 a.m. landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to its neighbors. After detecting the launch, South Korean, U.S. and Japanese militaries quickly condemned the launch that they say threatens stability in the region.
“It was North Korea’s first ballistic missile firing in eight days and the latest in its barrage of tests in recent months. North Korea previously said some of the tests were simulations of nuclear attacks on South Korean and U.S. targets. Many experts say North Korea would eventually want to enhance its nuclear capability to wrest bigger concessions from its rivals.”
The announcement also came just two days after President Joe Biden’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Bali, Indonesia, in the most unsettling of deferential displays, as per the AP:
“But on Monday, Biden was in Bali, Indonesia, for the G20, and he met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping. The greeting said it all about who appeared to have the power in the exchange. Xi stood while making Joe Biden walk to him, Xi didn’t even meet him halfway. And Biden did it with his hand out. That pretty much said it all right there, it cried ‘weakness’ and loss of face.
“Biden is smiling like he’s meeting his best friend, not a country that has threatened us, threatened our allies, and lied about COVID. Joe’s response says, ‘I’m desperate’ for a win of some kind. It didn’t look like the face of someone who intends to hold China over the coals for their bad behavior.”
There's no doubt that the North Koreans were keeping a close eye on Biden's trip out of the country.
The AP also observed:
“Choe’s statement was North Korea’s first official response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s trilateral summit with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a regional gathering Sunday in Cambodia. In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including its nuclear arms.”
Both Japan and South Korea contended that the launch weakened security and peace on the Korean peninsula, and the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a grave provocation.” U.S. Pacific Command stated that the launch “highlights the destabilizing impact of (North Korea's) unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”
The main question, naturally, is: What measures or steps will be taken in response to control North Korea?