Korean Peninsula heating up in the wake of missile launches by the North

The economic consequences of a limited skirmish are enormous.

In its latest defiance of world pressure, North Korea has fired, at least, one short-ranged ballistic missile on Monday which landed in the sea off its east coast.

The Scud-class ballistic missile flew nearly 280 miles (450 km), said South Korean officials. The launch marks the successful tests of two medium to long-range missiles in as many weeks.

Pyongyang’s unprecedented pace of missile launches are aimed at developing intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability of hitting the United States.

This is North Korea’s third ballistic missile test since South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae took the oath of office. Moon has pledged to kickstart dialog with the reclusive state.

Earlier Moon had stated sanctions alone have failed to resolve the growing threats from North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile program.

As per Roh Jae-cheon, the spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the third ICBM missile reached an altitude of 75 miles (120km).

“So far, the assessment is there was at least one missile but we are analyzing the number of missiles,” said Roh.

In the U.S., the White House disclosed that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the matter and that the U.S. Pacific Command tracked the short-ranged ballistic missile for six minutes.

As per U.S. Pacific Command, the launch did not pose a threat to North America.

Washington has stated it was looking at discussing with China, China’s only ally, at creating a new U.N. Security Council resolution which would limit and rein in North Korea’s weapons development program.

Significantly, Jim Mattis, the U.S. Defense Secretary, when asked on the probability of military conflict with North Korea, stated it would “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes”.

“The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, which is the capital of South Korea,” said Mattis in CBS’s “Face the Nation” news program.

He went on to add, “And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well”.

With the North Korean missile landing on Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the country has lodged a protest against the North Korea.

“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” said Abe to reporters in brief televised remarks. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

Incidentally, although North Korea has tested its Scud-type short-range missiles many times in the past and most recently in April, according to experts, this new launch could be different since it would appear that North Korea is trying to test new capabilities that form part of its ICBM capability.

“There are many possibilities … It could have been a test for a different type of engine. Or to verify the credibility of the main engine for ICBM’s first stage rocket,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Far Eastern Studies department in Seoul.

Modified versions of the Scud have a range of up to 620 miles (1,000 km).

As per U.S. officials, on Tuesday, for the first time, the U.S. will test its missile defense system so as to try and intercept an ICBM.


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