North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister threatened the “complete destruction” of diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea following missile tests conducted by both countries hours apart.
The tensions began when North Korea launched two missiles off the Korean coast at 12:38 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. local time, according to CNN. The AP wrote that these missiles landed in waters under Japan’s exclusive economic zone, something that has not happened since 2019.
South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff confirmed North Korea’s missile tests, saying that they were looking into the incident. “Our military maintains a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the U.S.,” the JCS added in a statement.
As reported by Yonhap News Agency, this latest missile test is the second of the year for North Korea and comes after the nation also tested new long-range cruise missiles earlier this week for the first time.
Within hours of the North Korean tests, South Korea launched its own missile test from a 3,000-ton-class submarine, doing an underwater-launched ballistic missile test for the first time. South Korean President Moon Jae said that his country needed “sure deterrence” against North Korea, one reason for the missile tests and technology development.
“South Korea would face many political and legal obstacles to develop nuclear weapons, both internal and external,” said Korea expert Ramon Pacheco Pardo per Reuters. “So it will develop all other capabilities to deter North Korea and show who the strongest Korea is.”
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, lashed out at the leadership of South Korea, arguing that the communist country was developing its missiles for defensive purposes, not aggression.
“If the president joins in the slander and detraction (against us), this will be followed by counter actions, and the North-South relations will be pushed toward a complete destruction,” she said. “We do not want that.”
In response to the missile tests, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that “diplomatic engagement remains the only pathway to sustainable peace and complete, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” In the past, North Korea was prohibited from testing and developing ballistic missiles by the U.N. Security Council.
Many international figures are concerned about an acceleration of distrust in the region and of North Korea’s increasing movement toward building up its missile program. Axios reported that following North Korea’s cruise missile tests, diplomatic meetings were held by key officials from China and South Korea in Seoul to discuss the developments on Wednesday.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said that they were aware of the situation, though they believed the tensions were not a threat to America, but that the U.S. still stood strongly with South Korea and Japan.
“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” the command noted in a statement. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”
Author : Leif Le Mahieu