While historically strained relations between Japan and South Korea face a new beginning, neighboring North Korea is flexing its muscles. But the message is aimed at another country.
North Korea has said its recent ICBM test was a warning to the US and South Korea about their ongoing military exercises. Ruler Kim Jong Un led the test yesterday, emphasizing the need to instill fear in enemies, state media reported on Friday. Kim accused the US and South Korea of open hostility.
According to the reports, the Hwasongpho-17 ICBM test was intended to serve as a nuclear deterrent. It should also be a stronger warning to the enemy. The missile is the largest ICBM in its own arsenal. Intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have a range of more than 5,500 kilometers, are considered the most important means of delivering nuclear weapons. Widely isolated North Korea is barred from testing ICBMs and other ballistic missiles by UN decisions.
The rocket was launched from Pyongyang International Airport and flew about 1,000 kilometers towards the open sea, it said. It ended up in the target area in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The test was a reaction to the wild, provocative and aggressive major US war exercises with South Korea. Both countries deny North Korea’s accusation that their joint maneuvers served as preparations for an attack.
The missile test was caught Thursday by South Korea’s military hours before South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Japan began. In Tokyo, Yoon and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for closer security cooperation between their countries and the United States. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated significantly since last year. North Korea increased the scope of its missile tests. The US and South Korea resumed full-scale military exercises.