North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch seems imminent. Voice of America reported that two concrete structures 220-meter and 100-meter long, respectively, were captured at Pyongyang Sunan Airport based on the analysis of satellite images. They are believed to be concrete support for launching long-range missiles. There are concerns that North Korea, which tested the performance of the Hwasong-17, a new ICBM, is preparing for the longest-range missile launch.
The 24-meter-long Hwasong-17 with multiple warheads is called a ‘monster ICBM.’ According to the South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities, North Korea may launch a monster ICBM and conduct the seventh nuclear test a month or two later. There are massive provocations over a period of time. Some predict that a nuclear test may be conducted around May 10, the inauguration ceremony of South Korean President-elect Yoon Seok-youl.
Amid the situation, President Moon Jae-in and Yoon are meeting on Wednesday. There are many agendas but what’s most urgent is to build a consensus on security governance between the two. If only the differences between the old and new powers regarding the understanding of and responses to the political landscape surrounding the North’s provocations are magnified, it won’t help anybody. Security gaps during the change of administrations might be what North Korea is targeting and it can cause the North’s misjudgment.
President Moon said that the two Korean governments should continue their efforts and willingness for dialogues at a meeting with his top aides. While he did not mention the new administration, he practically asked the new administration to maintain the stance to address North Korea’s nuclear issues through dialogues. Meanwhile, the president-elect said North Korea’s provocations are a passing bell to confirm the failure of the Korean Peninsula peace process. While he has not made direct statements toward the North after the presidential election, there are clear gaps in perspectives between President Moon and President-elect Yoon.
This is not the time for the two’s perspectives to collide. They should put their differences behind during the change of administrations and make a single voice to firmly respond to North Korea’s provocations. In that sense, President Moon should clearly share information about developments in North Korea with the presidential transition committee and be honest about the failures and difficulties experienced by the current administration. Yoon should also accurately review the current administration’s policies toward North Korea, rather than simply rejecting them. Building a strong security stance is the most basic responsibility of the old and new powers.