South Korea – North Korea’s launch of a short-range ballistic missile Wednesday- days before talks are to resume with the United States – may backfire on Kim Jong-Un’s regime, as it may force President Donald Trump to reassess his more cordial diplomatic strategy with Pyongyang.
Pyongyang’s actions were a direct threat not only to Japan, but reveal that North Korea had no intention of abiding by the United Nations ban on missile testing, indicating that the regime could be preparing to once again test more long-range missiles in the future, military and intelligence analysts say. Further, South Korean officials with the country’s presidential Blue House said they believe the ballistic missile was launched from a submarine in the water. The missile landed “in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 miles off its coast,” according to a New York Times report from the region.
Gordon Chang, an expert scholar in Asian affairs and author Nuclear Shutdown: North Korea Takes On The World, told SaraACarter.com that President Donald Trump must address the ‘provocation’ by the North Korean regime and force sanctions on the rogue nation. Chang is currently in South Korea, along with this reporter, speaking at the week’s long event Preserving South Korea’s Freedom, hosted by South Korea Conservative Political Action Conference.
“North Korea often engages in belligerent acts on the eve of important negotiations,” said Chang. “That comes out of the Kim family playbook. President Trump should not ignore the provocation, however. The launch of a ballistic missile is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
“If Kim thinks he can flout international rules, he will be even more difficult for us to deal with,” said Chang. “Moreover, we cannot expect other countries to enforce sanctions if we do not do so ourselves.”
Trump has been criticized by some analysts for his approach to ‘courting’ North Korea’s leader. Analysts say Trump has been walking a fine diplomatic line with Kim Jong-Un hoping to find a resolution but they insist Trump must do more to halt Pyongyang’s missile program.
On Monday, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who recently left the White House over disagreements with some of the president’s policies, said at an event at the Center For International Studies that the “strategic decision Kim Jong-un is operating through is that he will do whatever he can to keep a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and to develop and enhance it further. Under current circumstances, he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily.”
The talks between the two nations halted in February, after Trump and Kim Jong-Un met in Vietnam in February to address North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The talks ended without an agreement and the White House has been mainly silent on the issue.
White House officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Japanese activists, also attending the KCPAC event in South Korea, are questioning the current U.S. diplomacy with North Korea and hoping re-enforced sanctions will pressure Pyongyang from launching more missiles, which is posing a direct threat to Japan.
Hidetoshi Ishii, a human right’s activist and Vice President of the Free-Indo Pacific Alliance, said the ballistic missile launches are not only a direct threat to Japan, but North Korea’s behavior is a direct threat to United States geopolitical interest in the region. Ishii’s wife, Japanese Youtube star Yoko, is a conservative Japanese activist who said the situation with North Korea has put many Japanese people on edge.
Both Yoko and her husband, Ichii, who are supporters of Trump’s policies in the region, said that many people in Japan feel uncertain as to how the Trump administration will address this latest missile launch and find a way to stop North Korea’s escalation and threats.
South Korean conservative lawmakers, along with activists, noted during the conference on Wednesday, that there is enormous concern its nation is under threat by a left leaning government bent on ‘unification with North Korea’ at any cost. Left leaning President Moon Jae-in, called to end the 250 km Demilitarized Zone with North Korea, and suggested that the United Nations create an “international peace zone.”
However, critics say the North Korean government is a brutal regime that has failed to abide by the United Nations Security Council resolutions and its own human rights record is abhorrent.
The World Report 2019 states: “North Korea remains one of the world’s most repressive states. In his seventh year in power, Kim Jong-un—who serves as chairman of the States Affairs Commission and head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea—continues to exercise almost total political control. The government restricts all civil and political liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religion. It also prohibits all organized political opposition, independent media, civil society, and trade unions.”
The report also noted that North Korea “routinely uses arbitrary arrest and punishment of crimes, torture in custody, and executions to maintain fear and control over the population.”