Active North Korean missile testing: what is Pyongyang aiming for?

The BBC writes that Pyongyang has already conducted four missile tests this year. After the first attempts, the regime received new US sanctions against five of the country’s citizens for their role in acquiring equipment and technology for North Korea’s missile programs.

The U.S. has also indicated it will seek new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.

Following these U.S. actions, the Kim Jong Uno regime conducted another missile test. This was understood as a wordless response to the new US sanctions.

In addition, North Korea issued a statement condemning the administration of US President Joe Biden, which imposed new sanctions, and warned it was ready to take tougher action if the US continued to confront Pyongyang.

The BBC is trying to figure out what Kim Jong Uno North Korea is trying to do with the missile tests.

Strange test time

According to the BBC’s reviewer Tessa Wong, the time chosen by North Korea for rocket testing is unusual because the test regime is not running in January.

North Korea usually conducts such attempts by commemorating politically significant events or by expressing dissatisfaction with joint military exercises between the United States and neighboring South Korea.

AFP / Scanpix Photo / North Korean Missile

Ankitas Pand, an expert at the Carnegie International Peace Foundation, says North Korea typically tests its armaments to develop and maintain military readiness in the country. According to him, that is exactly what is happening now.

But it must be remembered that Kim Jong Un has other troubles that are on his shoulders, Pand told the BBC. One of these is economic deprivation.

“In a time of economic hardship, these missile launches allow Kim Jong Un to show that national defense priorities will not be relegated to the background,” the expert said.

Pyongyang is facing food shortages and the challenges of a weakening economy. The current economic situation in the country is largely to blame for North Korea itself: the regime has distanced itself from the world and is not allowing anything into the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19. So ties with China, which is considered North Korea’s main economic and political ally, have been severed.

True, China is already announcing that trains are running between the two countries – Pyongyang has opened after a two-year hiatus.

Negotiations with the US are also not moving from the deadlock. The U.S. wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but talks between the countries have stalled since Joe Biden became U.S. president. The new administration, as already mentioned, also introduced new sanctions on Pyongyang.

After the first missile tests, the regime received new U.S. sanctions.

North Korean professor Park Won Gon told the BBC the rocket test on Monday was a reaction to new sanctions announced. According to the expert, such a reaction shows that North Korea does not intend to succumb to US pressure.

North Korea itself announced it had tested tactical guided missiles at sea in Japan on Monday.

Anger on China?

The rocket tests, just weeks before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, are a prestigious and politically sensitive event for Beijing.

North Korean analyst Chad O’Carroll has already announced on Twitter that he believes China would not really welcome North Korea’s attempts on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

If the tests do not stop, the possibility cannot be ruled out, the expert says, North Korea may be angry at China for something.

Ankitas Pandas, an expert at the Carnegie International Peace Foundation, has a slightly different view. He thinks Beijing may be unhappy with North Korea’s missile tests, but will view everything quite tolerantly. And this is what China will do, because the ongoing armaments tests do not involve nuclear weapons or long-range missiles, an expert on the Chinese red line that should not be crossed.

AFP / Scanpix Photo / Kim Jong Un monitors rocket launch.

AFP / Scanpix Photo / Kim Jong Un monitors rocket launch.

Leif Eric Easley, who is following North Korea, has made another assumption at the BBC. He says North Korea is likely to want to carry out the missile tests scheduled for early 2022 before the start of the Beijing Olympics. The biggest winter sports event in Beijing will take place from February 4 to 20.

“This time also shows that North Korea does not want to remain silent just before the South Korean presidential election or wants to prove viable,” he said.

Mistakes made

Anthony Ruggier, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Democracy Defense Foundation, told CNBC that the United States was also to blame for the ongoing North Korean missile tests.

He recalled that Washington did not react in any way when Pyongyang conducted several rocket tests in 2021.

“When you allow sanctions to atrophy and seem unresponsive to the ballistic missile launches that took place last fall, I think the answer should be: we can do it,” said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in accepting US indifference. A.Ruggieris.

Pyongyang is facing food shortages and a weakening economy.

According to the expert, the sanctions imposed on North Korea this year after the tests are a good start, but much more needs to be done. He believes previous U.S. administrations made a mistake when they began to see talks with Pyongyang as an automatic achievement.

“This is not the case,” says the expert.

Ruggier, according to the CNBC, says Biden could take the initiative to increase pressure and impose new sanctions on North Korea if it continues to conduct missile tests.

The expert calls for this to be done even if there are any negotiations between the parties. But he says he doubts possible negotiations, much more similarly, that both the U.S. and North Korea are far from the negotiating table.

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