(TheRedWire.com) – The North Korean military participated in a military show of strength during the first two weeks of January. The exercises came as the US increased sanctions on the hermit country amidst a crippling COVID-19 pandemic that significantly hurt the regime financially. The United States recently imposed sanctions on five North Koreans after they helped the communist government obtain equipment and technology for their missile program.
North Korea has been increasing missile tests ahead of a potential nuclear-capable ballistic missile designed to be highly maneuverable and fly at low altitudes to evade defense systems in the region. On Saturday, January 15, the regime reportedly fired a missile from a train the small country believes makes its missile program more mobile. It was the third test in January, and another followed on Monday, bringing the total tests to four.
Is North Korea Threatening War?
Activity is ramping up on the Korean peninsula. In addition to firing missiles from a train on Saturday, the regime says it successfully tested a hypersonic missile last Tuesday. The North Korean government says the US sanctions only serve to stifle and isolate the North, a hostile act which the government finds unacceptable.
A spokesman for the regime stated if the US didn’t back down from its aggressive stance, the North would have no other choice but to respond more harshly.
On Monday, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said several North Korean missiles landed outside its airspace, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno warned that Kim’s missile firings were a threat to peace.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he was doing everything possible to ensure stability in the region, and South Korean officials stated the importance of restarting nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
So, is Kim provoking a war, or is something else at play here?
Why is Kim Firing Missiles?
President Biden appears to be struggling to keep North Korea under control. During the Trump presidency, the provocations all but ended, and interested parties talked despite a nuclear weapons denuclearization collapse in 2019.
The North wanted sanctions lifted in exchange for a partial shutdown of its nuclear capabilities. The Trump administration rejected their offering and demanded a full stop to their nuclear ambitions.
Now, it appears that Kim is testing Biden. As the US largely ignores the region, Kim has promised to expand his nuclear arsenal. Some believe the rogue dictator sees the need for nuclear weapons as his strongest guarantee to ensure his dictatorship survives.
How will Japan and South Korea respond, and will Biden finally take the issue seriously before one act sparks an international crisis or war?
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