We are the targetBurwell B. Bell, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, has expressed grave concern regarding North Korea’s missile development. Talking about recent short range North Korean missile tests he said, “These are modern, solid-fuel missiles which are easy to handle and capable of being fired rapidly.” He further added, “These missiles are designed to be used on this peninsula.”
This is confusing, as his remarks differ greatly from what the Korean government has said ― his perception of the issue is very different.
Since May, North Korea has fired missiles on three occasions. Every time a missile firing occurred, the South Korean military has been tight-lipped, because the matter is sensitive and the relevant information is a military secret.
Without an official briefing, it noted on an unofficial basis that the missile tests were part of the North’s routine military drills. Nevertheless, the remarks by Bell made that idea seem thin and suggest the South Korean government is being deceitful. One is forced to conclude Bell must have leaked military secrets.
How is it that the top U.S. commander in charge of defending the Korean peninsula has described what sort of fuel type the missiles used and their possible targets?
Since North Korea has conducted a nuclear test, determining what stage the North’s missile technology has reached is a crucial factor in our security. Bell underlined that point when he said, “One of the biggest threats to peace and stability is the potential capability of North Korea to couple its missile technology with its demonstrated nuclear ability.” Thus, we cannot have a blind spot in the cooperation between the United States and South Korea on military matters. How can we assure our security if there is a difference in perception, with the South downplaying the missiles while the United States is labeling them a profound threat?
The missiles that were fired by the North are said to have a range of 100 kilometers. They cannot reach the United States or Japan. As Bell pointed out, South Korea is their target. If we react to the missile tests as if nothing has happened, how can that be the response of a normally functioning country? The North Korean missile situation is carefully studied by nearby nations who are well aware that the problem does not go away by ignoring it. The government has to keep in mind that while it increases cooperation with the North, it needs to keep a close eye on the North’s growing military threat.