Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Message of Defiance

"[The launch of the latest, longer-range ballistic missile represents] Pyongyang's way of sending a message of defiance to the U.S. and South Korean leaders."
"It's also strategic. If the United States and South Korea are going to step up sanctions, North Korea will certainly move faster in getting its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs as far along as they can before any negotiations on a freeze or dismantlement."
Jean Lee, global fellow, Wilson Center

"[The U.S. must assert a] coherent strategy of direct diplomacy with Pyongyang and increased economic sanctions pressure from China."
"[Trump] must realize that there is no military solution to this threat. Unilateral action will only escalate tension, increase the paranoia of Kim Jong Un, and bring us closer to what everyone agrees would be a catastrophic war."
Democratic Senator Edward Markey, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chinese Communist Party official Liu Yunshan with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. Kyodo via Reuters

Diplomacy has been tried. And when it has, North Korea succeeded in ensuring it was a one-way street, accepting as its due all the promises followed up by the deliveries of oil, food, medicine, while itself failing to comply with the expectations of the United States that the North would set aside its ambitious plans to become a world leader in ballistic missile technology featuring intercontinental ballistic missiles, partnered with its emerging success in producing nuclear weapons.

Once the United States in frustration withdrew its diplomatic overtures and failed to cater to the Peoples' Republic's demands that it be regarded and treated as a coequal with the United States, a legitimate world power whose strength and influence lay in its advances toward nuclear miniaturization of bombs to be carried as far as the United States mainland for emphasis that it represented an equal in power of threat to the U.S., North Korea simply accelerated its program.

Its regional and only supporter has now evinced its own alarm at the advances along with the provocations that North Korea has indulged its Dear Leader's aspirations with, in prodding the U.S. and South Korea toward apprehensive suspense over the unbridled pleasure that Kim Jong Un appears to derive from his deliberate challenges to American supremacy. When China makes an effort to gently upbraid its impulsive/compulsive client and trading partner, it is rebuffed; no one and no country influences Kim Jong Un.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location on July 4, 2017.  STR/AFP/Getty Images

Now, with the latest test launched, sending its 'message of defiance', proof that the outlier nation has managed to produce a missile that could reach higher and longer than its predecessors, indicating it is well on its way to its final goal of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the American mainland, matters are beginning to heat up. Yet, China and Russia have released a joint statement to propose that North Korea declare a moratorium on its nuclear and missile tests and in response the United States and South Korea must hold back from any more large-scale military exercises.

Despite the North's boasts that it had launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the assessment by the American military is that this was an intermediate-range missile, one which NORAD claims poses no threat to North America. Still, according to a nuclear and missile expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the missile's range in reflection of public statements issued by both North and South Korea was capable of travelling over 5,500 kilometres, potentially capable of striking Alaska.

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