Go to contents

Seoul stays silent about Pyongyang’s ultrasonic missile launch

Seoul stays silent about Pyongyang’s ultrasonic missile launch

Posted January. 07, 2022 07:41,   

Updated January. 07, 2022 07:41


The South Korean government did not make any official statement on Thursday when the North announced that it successfully tested an ultrasonic missile. Critics say that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may behave submissively not to get on Pyongyang’s nerves with the goal of improving the inter-Korean relations with his term nearing an end.

Asked what to do with the launch of North Korea’s missile in cooperation with the U.S., the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “We have no update to make at this point.” Seoul did not condemn Pyongyang nor express any regret not only on Wednesday when the launch was carried out but also on Thursday. Nevertheless, the launch of a North Korean ballistic missile is a downright violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.

“We do not jump to conclusions about the intention that North Korea had of launching a missile,” said an official at the South Korean Unification Ministry on Thursday, implying that it may intend not to intimidate the outside world but to implement its own national defense plan to strengthen military competence. It has been reported that some officials at South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae believe that there is a chance of engagement and dialogue given that the recent missile launch did not cross the “red line.”

There is a concern that Seoul and Washington have a different viewpoint of Pyongyang’s provocative missile actions. Asked by The Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday (local time) after Pyongyang’s official announcement of the missile launch, the U.S. State Department replied that Washington condemns Pyongyang for sticking to ballistic missile development only growing a sense of insecurity both in the region and across the globe. U.S. State Secretary Tony Blinken reportedly expressed condemnation of North Korea’s ballistic missile launch in a telephone talk to Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. However, it has been reported that Secretary Blinken does not have any detailed plan to talk to South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Chung Eui-yong. This is interpreted by some diplomatic gurus as a representation of the current status of the relationship between Seoul and Washington.

The People Power Party, the main opposition party in South Korea, criticized President Moon for being blinded by his pursuit of an end-or-war declaration, saying, “All he does about North Korea is begging despite all the shamefulness that he is suffering.”

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com