The US President Donald Trump was visibly trying to downplay North Korean recent demonstration of power so as not to jeopardize the prospects for a resumption of nuclear talks. “They really have not tested any missiles except, you know, smaller ones, which is something that many (countries) test,” said the American president in an interview with his Fox News channel on Friday. He affirmed that he continues to get along very well with Kim Jong-un.
Similarly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously uttered. “Many countries pose before they come to the negotiating table,” he said, referring to the missile tests also at Fox News. North Korea has taken much worse and more dangerous steps in the past. A continuation of talks on the North Korean nuclear program was not threatened by the rocket launches. “I think we’ll be able to do that in a handful of weeks.”
Also, the inspection of a novel submarine by rulers Kim Jong Un did not concerned Pompeo to be a threat. “We all look at our forces and we all take pictures of them,” Pompeo said. However, North Korea has repeatedly used such missions in the past to inform the world public about weapons developments. In 2017, Kim was photographed a few months before the test of a hydrogen bomb with a corresponding explosive device.
Experts fear that North Korea is working on the development of a submarine from which nuclear missiles could also be launched. The charge of criticizing Washington for encouraging Pyongyang to threaten its US counterparts, such as Japan and South Korea, by ignoring its provocations, Pompeo dismissed.
North Korea itself described the weapons test as a “serious warning” to “warmongers in South Korea” and demanded a cancellation of the August military exercise by South Korean and US troops. The country has protested for years against such maneuvers, which it considers to be attack preparations.
Last year, after a meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, President Donald Trump had vaguely suggested an end to the military maneuvers. Since then, a number of major maneuvers have been canceled and replaced with smaller exercises, mainly consisting of computer simulations. This also applies to the forthcoming exercise “19-2 Dong Maeng” according to South Korean statements. North Korea has suggested that a resumption of nuclear talks at work level, agreed with Donald Trump at the end of June, may be conditional on a cancellation of the maneuver.
The news agency KCNA announced on Friday that the missile test was personally instructed by Kim Jong-un on Thursday. It was a “demonstration of power” against the South Korean military. In addition to the military maneuver, North Korea is also bothered by the acquisition of “ultramodern offensive weapons”. This refers to Seoul’s planned purchase of US stealth aircraft. The KCNA quote North Korean leader as saying “we can not help but continue to develop super-powerful weapon systems to avert the potential and direct threats to our country’s security.” The ruler expresses himself very seldom over the state media, which gives the message additional weight.
Meanwhile, the South Korean military released additional details about the weapons tested. These are missiles that are similar to the Russian Iskander “in their complicated trajectory”. This makes it difficult, according to experts, to intercept them. A joint analysis with the United States has shown that “during the dive phase the rockets carried out a pull-up maneuver”.
South Korea also tried on Friday, the way to prepare for a resumption of nuclear talks. A security advisor to President Moon Jae-in raised a possible easing of sanctions in the event of concrete disarmament action by North Korea.