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N. Korea launches hypersonic missile 6 days after ballistic missile launch

N. Korea launches hypersonic missile 6 days after ballistic missile launch

Posted January. 12, 2022 07:53,   

Updated January. 12, 2022 07:53


North Korea launched a ballistic missile suspected to be a hypersonic missile on Tuesday. It is the second missile provocation by the country this year, followed by the first one on January 5. The latest missile launch took place right after a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the North’s missile provocations. The South Korean military said that North Korea’s missile has improved in speed and range and that they are analyzing data and characteristics of the missile. The South Korean government expressed ‘strong regret’ but urged the North to return to dialogue.

North Korea’s missile launch immediately following the U.N. Security Council’s discussions is a message to continue provocations according to its weapon development plan regardless of the international community’s sanctions. The country has been demanding the withdrawal of ‘double standard,’ claiming that their new weapon development is legitimate. The recent provocation is the North’s expression‎ of determination to resist external pressure. In addition, it can be seen as an armed refutation against the South Korean military undervaluing North Korea’s claim of a hypersonic missile test, saying that its performance was exaggerated.

North Korea’s bold provocations are not unrelated to the New Cold War international order represented by hegemonic competition between the U.S. and China and the European front competition between the U.S. and Russia. The common front of the international community to put pressure on North Korea is breaking down as the competitive structure of the U.S. vs. China and Russia has become distinctive, reminding of the cold war era. North Korea is trying to capture such an opportunity. Its provocation on Tuesday came right after the U.S. and Russia reconfirmed their previous stances regarding Ukraine during a strategic stability dialogue, and the U.N. Security Council failed to put forward even elementary measures against North Korea.

As North Korea becomes bolder and the international community becomes weaker in its response against it, South Korea will be at the center of the biggest risk. The new weapons under development by North Korea are short-range weapons that can target all across South Korea. South Korea is in a completely different situation than the U.S. focusing on managing a political landscape on the Korean Peninsula across the Pacific Ocean. However, the South Korean government is desperate to calm North Korea, using cooperation with the U.S. as an excuse. Is there any plan in place to handle the situation in case South Korea’s ally changes its mind?