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N. Korea’s ICBM provocation to alienate S. Korea and U.S.

N. Korea’s ICBM provocation to alienate S. Korea and U.S.

Posted February. 20, 2023 07:33,   

Updated February. 20, 2023 07:33


North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-15 in Sunan, Pyongyang on Saturday. It has been 48 days since it launched a short-range ballistic missile on January 1. The long-range missile, which reached a maximum altitude of 5,768 kilometers, traveled over 900 kilometers and fell into the East Sea. “We will respond to hostilities against us with overwhelming actions,” Kim Yo Jong said in a briefing on the following day.

The latest ICBM launch signals that North Korea’s strategic provocations against the U.S. are becoming more serious. The Hwasong-15, which has a range of 13,000 kilometers, is a projectile that can hit any location in the U.S. territory with a nuclear weapon if launched at a normal angle. North Korea launched Hwasong-17, which is called the ‘monster ICBM,’ in November last year and is making efforts to enhance its mid-range missiles by establishing the solid fuel ICBM operation unit earlier this month. North Korea repeatedly made clear its intention to directly address the U.S. by saying that it is not interested in dealing with South Koreans.

North Korea is likely to escalate its level of nuclear and missile provocations further on the excuse of the scheduled joint exercises between South Korea and the U.S. In fact, additional provocations are expected during the periods of South Korea and the U.S.’s Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-top Exercise to be conducted at The Pentagon this week and ‘Freedom Shield’ joint military exercises in next month. The North may launch a solid-fuel ICBM, which was revealed at the recent military parade, or conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Foreign ministers of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, who were in Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference, had an emergency meeting and discussed response measures. They collectively condemned North Korea’s ICBM launch in a joint press conference and emphasized that the North will face even stronger sanctions from the international community. It is meaningful that the three ministers took swift joint action. While North Korea made provocations to alienate South Korea and the U.S., multilateral solidarity in Northeast Asia is becoming stronger.

While the North Korean regime is focused on increasing its military power, its economic situation is becoming worse. As its food production volume decreased by one-fourth compared to last year, many people are dying from starvation. The sum of its cost to launch missiles, including up to 30 million dollars per ICBM launch, is equivalent to one year’s worth of rice to feed its people. The only things that the North can get in return for a meaningless provocation strategy are extreme isolation and poverty. Those are the only things North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will leave behind to his daughter who accompanies him often to signal succession and future generations.