North Korea has been showing off what they are capable of for quite some time. With an active nuclear weapons program, many parts of the world are unclear as to what the country plans to do with all of their technology. Now, they have shocked the world by launching to ballistic missiles from a submarine. One of these missiles went nearly 600 miles straight into space. According to South Korea, North Korea launched a missile off of the East Coast on Wednesday. It is suspected that the missile was launched from a submarine.
One of the reasons why this comes as such a surprise is that it is one day after announcing that it will continue to talk with the United States about ending the nuclear program.
Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan has condemned the missile launch. He claims that one fell in the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Japan and that it was in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
North Korea likes to launch missiles periodically to remind the world what it is capable of. It is also a juvenile way of displaying their rejection of the UN resolutions that ban ballistic missile technology. North Korea believes that banning the technology infringes upon their right to defend themselves.
As for the altitude of North Korea’s missile, the information came from South Korea’s military. They anticipate that it was a Pukguksong-class weapon. It flew 280 miles and reached an altitude of 565 miles. This means that the missile actually reached a height two times higher than where the International Space Station sits.
In Seoul, the National Security Council expresses “strong concern” over what they fear could be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). There are some varying details regarding the launch. South Korea’s military estimates that only one missile was launched while Japan assesses that there were two missiles.
While North Korea has been developing SLBM technology for quite some time, they did choose to suspend nuclear tests and long-range missile launches. This is when they began talking with the United States, which included the first summit taking place between Trump and Kim in June 2018 in Singapore.
The United States military has already identified that they are aware of the situation and will be monitoring everything closely.
John Bolton has provided a warning that there is a “grave and growing threat” of the nuclear weapons program in North Korea. He has also condemned the Trump administration for not condemning the ballistic missile tests being performed by Kim Jong Un. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Bolton recommends avoiding personal negotiation with Kim and, instead, focusing on a regime change in Pyongyang. There is a possibility of working with China to help unify South and North Korea, even if using military force is necessary.
With Kim Jong Un choosing to launch this latest round of ballistic missiles, one going higher than the International Space Station, it begs the question of whether Trump can actually get a summit with Kim and trust anything that comes out of the dictator’s mouth. It may be time to take things to the next level – though what that next level is has yet to be decided.
When a missile can be launched higher into orbit than the space station, it is a sign that the nuclear weapons program hiding in North Korea is more impressive than many people even feared. Why Kim would launch a missile a day after talking with Trump about a summit sounds like he took the idea of a summit as a joke.
North Korea could easily hit US allies in the area, including South Korea and Japan. It also wouldn’t take much for them to be able to aim those missiles in the direction of anywhere else they wanted, whether it be the ISS or even the United States.
Kim is now in violation of UN resolutions, which is something that cannot be ignored. If he’s been using the “summits” as a way to buy time until the rest of his program was ready to be launched, it could result in a war happening with North Korea faster than anyone had anticipated.
Right now, it’s a “wait and see” game to see what Kim’s next move is going to be. If more ballistic missiles are launched from North Korea, it’s only going to be a matter of time before the US military has to intervene and protect its allies in that area of the world.