Continued North Korean missile testing raises alarm, U.N. set to meet

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Tensions are rising with North Korea after the nation conducted yet another ballistics missile test. The test missile was launched from Kusong. According to the South Korean military, it was able to remain in flight for 430 miles before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan. South Korean officials are still analyzing the test launch to determine the type of missile. North Korean military leaders issued statements indicating that they had successfully conducted their mid-to-long range missile test with the end goal of being able to carry a large-scale nuclear warheard. Amidst these statement, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a warning to the United States asserting that his nation had developed the technology to strike U.S. mainland. However, according to the U.S. military Pacific Command, the North Korean missile was not a viable intercontinental ballistic missile. As a result of North Korea’s continued missile testing, the United States and its Japanese and South Korean allies are calling for further actions to be taken against the country, including increasing sanctions against the country. Indeed, the United Nations Security Council has responded to these requests. A meeting is to be held in the coming weeks to address North Korea’s latest missile launch. South Korea fears the missile launch was meant as a message to South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in was sworn into office the day before the launches. Furthermore, the launches seem to be a negative answer to Mr. Jae-in’s calls to open a fresh dialogue with North Korea. The U.S. Whitehouse is attempting to draw further support from Russia. Once a Cold War ally of North Korea, Russia is now one of the six nations involved in trying to open talks with North Korea about abandoning their nuclear arsenal. In exchange, the U.S. and their allies have put economic and diplomatic benefits on the table. These offers date back to 2003, and this dialogue has hit a stalemate that dates back to 2008. North Korea’s lack of communication as well as the results of the recent missile test are a cause for concern. The Japanese government released the data they collected about the test. The missile reached an altitude of 1,245 miles and was able to sustain a 30-minute flight time. Based upon the data released by the Japanese and South Korean governments, North Korea is within reach of technology that could target key United States military bases in the Pacific Ocean. The missile test is also a cause for alarm because of how fast North Korean ballistics technology has progressed in such a short period of time. North Korea’s first test of this missile occurred on April 29 and ended in failure; the projectile exploded during liftoff. Most of the outcry against such testing has cited United Nations Security Council resolutions. These resolutions strictly ban North Korea from developing or testing ballistics missiles. However, North Korea’s continued flagrant violations of these bans has prompted newly elected President Moon Jae-in to order the South Korean military to be prepared to defend the nation should South Korea be faced with any provocation from the North. Still, President Moon Jae-in has continued to offer an open dialogue to the North. He notes that while it is necessary to take a firm stance, it is also important to be open to a change for the better in the relations between the nations. Some political experts see the missile tests as a continuation of the same patterns that have been carried out by North Korea in the past. The North has had a history of carrying out missile launches in order to test newly elected leaders in South Korea or the U.S. or when any nations call for new negotiations. Recently, U.S. officials have seriously considered returning to the negotiating table for the first time since 2012. At that time, North Korea agreed to a stoppage of its nuclear development program in exchange for food aid, but this deal quickly fell through when North Korea violated the agreement. Like Mr. Jae-in, President Trump has expressed a desire to meet and negotiate with Kim Jong-Un. The U.S. President and Korean leaders have traditionally made an effort to ease tensions with North Korea by conducting joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula. However, the abatement of tensions seems to be at an end as new issues over missile testing continue to arise.

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