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Seoul's dilemma on N. Korea

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By Tong Kim

Tensions are rising again in Korea, albeit slowly, since North Korea conducted the testing of short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9, including a North Korean version of a low-flying Russian missile, the Iskander, that flew over 420 kilometers, out of the ranges of missile defense systems deployed in South Korea.

Kim Jong-un's return to a calculated show of force coincides with no imminent prospect of resurrecting denuclearization talks and with a series of U.S. actions Pyongyang sees as hostile to it: including the seizure of a North Korean cargo ship for exporting coal in violation of UN and U.S. sanctions, a State Department press statement criticizing human rights abuses in the North, and the U.S. Air Force testing an ICBM that it said was unrelated to North Korea.

On May 14, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson issued a statement of protest, demanding an immediate release of the North Korean ship "forcibly taken to the U.S. territory of Samoa." The statement censured the application of the U.S. domestic law in the "unlawful and outrageous dispossession." It warned, the U.S. "should ponder over the consequences its heinous act might have on the future developments."

Kim Jong-un has been........

© The Korea Times