Two ballistic missiles were launched by the North Korean government on Thursday, making it its sixth such launch in less than fifteen days. A Korean official said that Pyongyang’s recent blitz was “just counteraction measures” against joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. The United States led an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan on Tuesday.
After the US redeployed an aircraft carrier to the area and conducted joint military exercises with South Korea, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles eastwards. Japan and South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported Thursday’s launches.#NorthKorea #japan pic.twitter.com/dlqtTAdwAs
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) October 6, 2022
In opposing additional sanctions, Moscow and Beijing were providing Pyongyang with “blanket protection,” the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. stated. Representatives from China and Russia argued that increased dialogue would be more effective than punishment. U.S., South Korean, and Japanese military forces have been conducting combined exercises for the past two months to practice how to defeat and deter an attack by North Korea.
South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. Military Drills
Kim Jong-un, the leader of the North Korean regime, has been disturbed by these drills, which he views as evidence that his enemies are preparing for war. Furthermore, North Korea blamed the United States for worsening the military tensions in the Korean peninsula region. On the other hand, South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. started further military exercises. They said they responded to the North’s Tuesday missile launch in their joint statement.
The Biden government said there was no comparison between security drills and a banned test missile fire. The United States also redeployed its warplane USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) near the Korean peninsula. Japan and South Korea expressed that the first of the latest ballistic missiles, fired at around 6:00 am local time, flew approximately 350 kilometers with a maximum altitude of about a hundred kilometers. However, the second missile launched with a flight range of around 800 kilometers with an altitude of about fifty kilometers.
As the Security Council wrapped up a meeting on North Korea’s dangerous ballistic missile launches, we learned that Pyongyang launched two more missiles.
Make no mistake: the two Council members that are blocking us from taking action are enabling North Korea.
— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) October 6, 2022
There is an intriguing similarity between the recent flurry of launches and the period before the country’s last nuclear weapon test in 2017. Like now, back then, Pyongyang tested missiles, the U.S. did not engage in dialogue, and North Korea fired two missiles over Japan. In satellite imagery, the North appears to be restoring tunnels at its nuclear test site, tunnels they claimed were destroyed during a short-lived diplomatic reconciliation between North Korea and the United States under President Trump in 2018.
Recent Launches of North Korea
The North fired around six missiles in less than two weeks:
- After a United States naval carrier arrived in waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, 25 September, North Korea launched a short-range missile. Distance of 600 km/altitude of 60 km
- The North fired two short-range missiles on Wednesday, 28 September, just before U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Seoul and the demilitarized zone. Distance of 360 km/altitude of 30 km
- Following Harris’ departure from South Korea, it fired two short-range missiles on Thursday, 29 September. Distance of 300 km and altitude of 50 km
- The country launched two short-range missiles on Saturday, 1 October, amid ongoing drills between the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. Distance of 400km and altitude of 50km
- The North Korean government launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, 4 October. Distance of 4,500 km and altitude of 2,800 km
- Two more short-range missiles were fired on Thursday, 6 October. Distance of 800 km and altitude of 50 km
Kim Jong Un is allegedly enabled by China and Russia – U.S.
On Wednesday, the United States accused China and Russia of supporting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by preventing the U.N. Security Council from strengthening sanctions against the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and approximately two council members provide blanket protection to the DPRK (North Korea). In summary, Kim Jong-un has been enabled by two permanent members of the Security Council.