Divided, you can’t defend against North

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Divided, you can’t defend against North

Following short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) provocations, North Korea on Tuesday fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which flew over the Japanese archipelago. The North hasn’t made such a bold provocation in five years. After escalating tension to the highest level with an ICBM threat in 2017, North Korea shakes peace on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia again. October 4 was the day marking the 15th anniversary of the Declaration for Advancing Inter-Korean Relations and Peace and Prosperity in an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea fired an IRBM from Chakang province to the Pacific at a normal angle. It flew about 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles) at an altitude of 970 kilometers at Mach 17. The missile can strike not only U.S. Forces in Japan but also Guam, an air base for U.S. strategic assets. Buoyed by its nuclear weapons, North Korea is not afraid of the South Korea-U.S. joint drills or the joint anti-submarine exercise among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan anymore.
In a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday, South Korea gave a stern warning to the North after defining the provocation as a “grave threat to the peace in the region.” The U.S. NSC called it “a dangerous and reckless decision,” while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida branded it a “violent move.” Tokyo even issued an alert to residents in Hokkaido. National Security Advisors and foreign ministers of the three countries discussed a joint action plan via telephone to prepare for any emergency.
But North Korea will certainly ratchet up the level of tension starting with the IRBM launch. Encouraged by China and Russia, North Korea will likely push its seventh nuclear test and a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test soon. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Joseph Kritenbrink, said that though Washington had expressed to Pyongyang a willingness to talk without conditions, the North responded with a missile.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had threatened to use tactical nukes against South Korea preemptively. The North already went beyond the level of missile tests. Kim could be tempted to use nukes if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses them in the Ukraine war.
Our political circles are engrossed with an ideological battle. When Japan’s NHK turned to an emergency broadcast mode on Tuesday, Korea’s public broadcaster nonchalantly showed a talk show. Without bipartisan determination to defend against North Korea, South Korea cannot prevent it from making a dangerous decision.
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