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DPRK's Fourth Short Range Missile Launch and the International Reaction

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Early in the morning of August 6, North Korea conducted a new series of missile launches, the fourth incident over the last two weeks. Short-range missiles (presumably the same type as those that were launched on July 25) crossed the Korean peninsula from the west to the east and, after flying for about 450 km, fell to the Sea of Japan.

According to South Korean military and the US expert V. van Diepen, short range ballistic missiles were used, though this term did not appear directly in the message of the Korean Central News Agency. However, in its opinion, the new multiple rocket launchers have a range of 60 km more. All this can give North Korea “more flexibility in the choice between multiple rocket launchers and short range ballistic missiles, as well as complicate even more the missile defense challenges for the US and South Korea.”

The missiles are now capable of maneuvering in order to reach the target covered with the missile defense under various azimuths. The trajectory projection to the Earth surface is not a straight line, but a curve, which means that the high-precision missile maneuvers both in the horizontal and in the vertical plane.

Now let us discuss the reaction of the officials of the US and South Korea to the launches.

After the first launches, Washington urged North Korea to abandon further missile tests: the US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that Washington wanted the negotiations on the North Korean nuclear and missile programs to return to the proper course.

The South Korean Presidential Administration condemned the launches at once, making it clear that countermeasures may follow such actions. The representative of the South Korean Ministry of Defense Choi Hyun-soo also urged North Korea “to stop actions which do not promote efforts to decrease the military tension on the Korean peninsula.” The Ministry of Unification stated that the provocative actions of Pyongyang do not promote the decrease in the military tension in the region, which was practically repeated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha as well.

The opposition rigidly criticized the course of the present government of the South towards the reconciliation with the North. “After the conclusion of the inter-Korean military agreement on September 19, 2018 on the termination of threats against each other, North Korea carried out missile launches three times already. Taking into account this fact, we should abandon the agreement because of these actions of North Korea........

© New Eastern Outlook