US and South Korea confirm the Pyongyang’s provocative move
Amid recent tension on threat to mount ballistic missile attack at Guam, the US territory in Western Pacific, North Korea has fired several short range missiles in the sea off its east coast on Saturday. This was confirmed by South Korean and US military engaged in annual joint military exercise.
Reuters report says that the US military’s Pacific Command said it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles, fired over a 20 minute period. All of the missiles failed with one blowing up almost immediately after launch, while two others failed in flight, it added.
Meanwhile North Korea’s official news agency KNCA reports that a target-striking contest of the special operation forces of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) to occupy islands took place on the Day of Songun, the 57th anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il’s start of the revolutionary leadership.
Songun is the “military first” policy of North Korea, prioritizing the Korean People’s Army in the affairs of state and allocation of resources.
Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, guided the target-strike contest.
The report further said that Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un heard a report on the program of the enemy target-striking contest at an observation post and issued an order to start the contest after going round the special operation forces which took up attack positions.
Describing about the Saturday military moves, KCNA said, “Airplanes which received an order for sortie ceaselessly hit hard the enemy targets and multiple-missile launchers of different calibers and self propelled gun howitzers fired in salvo. Shells hit the islands simulating Paekryong and Big Yonphyong islands.
Kim Jong Un expressed great satisfaction over the successful target-striking contest, the report said.
It would be interesting to recall that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on Tuesday attempted to calm down tension by saying that there had been no missile tests or “provocative acts” from North Korea since a UNSC resolution sanctioning Pyongyang was passed earlier this month.
Meanwhile South Korean office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the projectiles were launched from the North’s eastern Kangwon province and flew in a northeasterly direction about 250 km into the sea.
Tension was mounted between US and North Korea after Pyongyong test fired Inter Continental Ballistic Missile on July 28. This was designed to fly 10,000 km capable of reaching US mainland. US President Donald Trump had warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he would face “fire and fury” if he threatened the US.
Later, North Korea threatened to fire ICBM near Guam, a US island territory in the Western pacific housing a large military base. Later the threat was virtually withdrawn.
The South Korean and US military are now engaged in annual exercise, which the North Korea describes as preparation for its invasion.
The US and South Korea are technically at war with North Korea because of their 1950-53 conflict ended in truce, not a peace treaty. North Korea is reluctant to give up its weapons programs necessary to counter alleged US hostility.
The Korean conflict is based on the division between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ((DPRK) in the north and Republic of Korea in the south, both of which claim to be the government of the whole country.
During cold war, North Korea was backed by the erstwhile Soviet Union, China and other communist countries while South Korea was supported by US and its allies. The division occurred at the end of World War II in 1945. The tension erupted in the Korean War in 1950. In 2002, US President George Bush described North Korea as the member of an “Axis of Evil” along with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and revolutionary Iran.