TAIPEI. Missiles continue to fly in East Asia. After North Korea’s Hwasong-12 flew over Japan, the United States and South Korea responded with 4 short-range ground-to-ground missiles (Lockheed-Martin’s Atacms) in the Sea of Japan. In addition, Seoul also fired two indigenous Hyunmoo-2 missiles. According to John Kirby, US national security adviser, the allies have shown that they have “the military preparation to respond to provocations from North Korea”.
But the tests were a partial own goal for Seoul, as one of the two Hyunmoo-2 crashed to the ground about 700 meters away from Gangneung Air Base, causing a fire. Here is revealed the yellow of yesterday’s night explosion, which had caused the alarmed residents to pour into social networks. Given the initial silence of the authorities, many thought it was a Pyongyang attack. After hours of rumors, the military staff admitted that it was an accident caused by a breakdown and apologized for the initial secrecy. Not a great spot for South Korean missile manufacturing and its deterrence capabilities. Just a few days ago, the new intermediate-range Hyunmoo-5 was presented.
South Korea fails to launch Hyumoo-2 missile, panic in Gangneung city
Reassurances arrive instead on the American commitment, with the deployment of the Ronald Reagan in the waters east of South Korea. An unusual fact, given that usually the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sails further south. Washington has also said it is willing to negotiate with Kim Jong-un “without preconditions” for denuclearization, but Pyongyang does not seem willing to negotiate. Indeed, rumors are increasing about a possible nuclear test in the coming weeks: it would be the first in 5 years. And the global situation makes it more difficult to imagine the restart of the dialogue as it did in 2017.
Japan is also worried: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will speak with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. Tokyo is considering the possible deployment of a thousand long-range missiles: in mind it has not only Kim but also Russia and China, which have also opposed the US request for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Korea of the North. Moscow and Beijing have recently conducted several, often joint, maneuvers around Japan. During the August exercises around Taiwan, 5 Chinese ballistic missiles landed in Japanese waters. In recent weeks, Seoul has reported Russian jet air strikes.
The US and South Korea respond to Kim by launching 5 missiles on the Sea of Japan: one crashes to the ground. Today the UN Security Council
DIRECT BY THE EDITORIAL