Global Independent Analytics

Kim Jong-un’s show of force disturbs his neighbors

South Korea blames North for firing 'short-range projectiles' day after sanctions are issued

K.J. Kwon reporting for CNN: North Korea launched six “short-range projectiles” that flew the distance of 100 to 150 kilometers (about 62 to 93 miles) away from the Korean Peninsula, claims the South Korean’s Joint Chiefs of Staff press release.

This display of aggression came one day after the United Nations Security Council decided to introduce a new broad array of sanctions, as a response to North’s nuclear test and missile launch – both of which defied current international sanctions, outraged the Security Council and worried neighboring nations.

Of course, the most concerned party in this development is South Korea, whose President Park Geun-hye released a statement Thursday about the new sanctions, thanking the international community for its efforts.

"I sincerely hope that the North will abandon its nuclear development program and embark on a path of change, and I will make further efforts for peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula," the President said.

South Korean military is analyzing the situation, added an official from the South Korean Defense Ministry.

The main goal of the U.N. resolution was and still is to cripple North Korea’s economic sectors that directly affect nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

According to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, it would ban Pyongyang from exporting natural recourses and critically limit the supply of aviation fuel to the country, among other things.

Perhaps the most cautious commentary was made by Chinese official, who called for calm.

"The current situation on the Korean peninsula is complicated and sensitive," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday. "We hope the relevant parties can keep cool heads and not take any actions that will escalate tensions."

EXPERT OPINION

Pedro Marin

Unfortunately, this conflict is far from its end. Nobody is actually working to accomplish a less militarized Korea - it’s solely a media war. As I stated at an article on January, it is clear that to have a denuclearized North Korea it is necessary that the United States cease its military presence in the Peninsula. This kind of demonstration of power by the North is neither new - it’s historically the way the country pursues independence - nor exclusive, as South Korea and the U.S army repeatedly do military drills in Korea. The disturbing fact is that the media and governments worldwide only worry when it’s North Korea who’s doing it. But these sanctions are actually quite revealing: President Obama said in late December, during his speech on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, that “these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach”, and that the sanctions policy “provided the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people.” Still, for some reason, President Obama seems to think it will work in the Korean case. Is there a hidden agenda in the rapprochement policy towards Cuba or in the isolation policy against North Korea? I’d definitely say both.

Read more

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