North Korea crossed the line

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North Korea crossed the line

 North Korea has crossed a red line. On Thursday, it fired off its first full intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in five years dubbed Hwasong-17 that reached a maximum altitude of 6, 200 kilometers (3,853 miles) and traveled 1,080 kilometers for an hour before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. The ICBM shows outright contempt toward the Moon Jae-in administration’s “Korean Peninsula Peace Process” and a severe provocation ahead of the inauguration of a new South Korean president.

President Moon immediately held a National Security Council meeting and condemned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for violating the self-imposed moratorium on ICBM launches. Kim threatened the security of the peninsula, Northeast Asia and the international community and violated UN Security Council resolutions. The transition committee for President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol also called the test a “grave provocation to the peninsula, Northeast Asia, and world peace” and urged an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The South Korean and U.S. military held a joint military action in a show of allied force. The White House and the Indo-Pacific Command issued a strong-language condemnation and warning against further provocation.

Pyongyang has had the habit of shaking South Korean society during transitions of power. The outgoing and incoming governments who should be paying utmost attention to security and calming the people are busy waging a war of nerves. But the outgoing and incoming administrations have been clashing over President-elect Yoon’s plan of relocating the presidential office, a pardoning of former president Lee Myung-bak and the outgoing president’s appointments of key posts like the Bank of Korea governor. Both sides actually have championed unity and cooperation so far.

The U.S. would have lost patience with North Korea with its new threat of ICBM capable of carrying nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland. The confrontation could build up to warlike atmosphere as in 2017 when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea for a series of military provocations and nuclear test.

North Korea might have thought that it could avoid any serious consequences for its actions this time due to America’s preoccupation with the Russian war and the confrontation between the Western society and Russia and China. But North Korea must understand that the alliance between Seoul and Washington is bound to get tighter under the conservative president and the international society will stand stronger against aggressions by dictatorships after Russian President Putin’s war. North Korea must stop worsening the situation.
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