North Korea Tests More Missiles, Warns Of Turning Pacific Into 'Firing Range'

    North Korea Tests More Missiles, Warns Of Turning Pacific Into 'Firing Range'
    Last updated Feb 20, 2023
    Image credit: KCNA/KNS/AFP [via Al Jazeera]


    • On Monday morning, North Korea reportedly test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, a move the South Korean military condemned as a serious provocation.
    • In a statement released by state media, Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned that the extent to which Pyongyang will use the Pacific as a "firing range" depended on the US military's actions.
    • The US military reacted to the missiles by reaffirming its unwavering commitment to defending South Korea and Japan. Washington also claimed that the launches underscore the "destabilizing" fallout from the North's "unlawful" weapons and ballistic missile programs.
    • Monday's test came after Pyongyang conducted its third intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in less than a year on Saturday, prompting separate US exercises with South Korea and Japan on Sunday.
    • Amid Pyongyang's recent round of missile launches, Japan's PM Fumio Kishida stated on Monday that Tokyo has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, which is set to take place in New York on Tuesday.
    • Meanwhile — due to Pyongyang's recent ICBM launch — South Korea on Monday announced new unilateral sanctions targeting four individuals and five entities allegedly involved in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs or in sanctions evasion.


    Establishment-critical narrative

    Despite the US and its allies blaming Pyongyang for increasing tensions, Washington cannot obscure the fact that it bears the main responsibility for declining diplomatic relations, especially as the Biden administration has switched back to a confrontational course following Donald Trump's efforts at de-escalation. Washington is fueling conflict to force closer ties with Japan and South Korea in order to expand its regional influence.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    While the North regularly slams South Korea-US drills as alleged invasion rehearsals, it is the desperate regime in Pyongyang that is escalating tensions to consolidate its power. In doing so, the nation keeps violating UN Security Council resolutions by expanding its nuclear and ballistic missile activities, all the while starving its own population. Washington and its allies are obliged to show strength against the ruthless North Korean regime.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Kim Jong Un will no longer be the leader of North Korea by January 2040, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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