On the 22nd of September, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into its east ocean. It was North Korea’s first time launching missiles since March. South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said they flew 800 km at an altitude of 60 km. This display of military assets was a response to the nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
Kim Jong-un’s government has rejected the US demand to give up nuclear programs in exchange for sanction relief. The missile test aimed to leverage negotiations between the two countries, they were a “strategic weapon of great significance” as noted by the North Korean state media.
The missiles have posed threats to America, as well as neighbouring Japan and South Korea. The US decried the launch as being a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The Japanese Prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, also condemned the launch and described it as “outrageous”. The missiles landed at Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which threatened the region’s safety and peace. Meanwhile, South Korea launched a ballistic missile from a 3,000-tonne submarine only hours after North Korea’s launch of missiles. The coincidence in the missile launchings of the two Koreas was seen as “an arms race” by Professor John Delury from Yonsei University. Yet, Moon Jae-IN’s government claimed the launch was pre-planned to exercise South Korea’s military capability in deterring North Korea.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-Jong, spoke about South Korea’s submarine missile, claiming it was an “illogical and foolish attitude” towards North Korea’s provocations. North Korea’s missiles were marked as a threat to the world whilst South Korea’s missile was portrayed as legitimate support for peace.
The UN Security Council resolutions banned North Korea’s ballistic missile systems. World leaders from France and Estonia held talks on North Korea’s tests. South Korea and China also addressed the missile launches and conducted discussions on denuclearisation. The Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi believes it is a global responsibility to work and sustain peace on the Korean peninsula.