Clicking through a series of photo slides that depict recent North Korean missile tests, South Korean military defense expert Choi Kang reacts in a tone suggesting he’s both fearful and impressed, CNN reports.
“This is really imaginative or creative thinking of using missiles,” said Choi, a former director of South Korea’s National Security Council and now vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a prominent conservative think tank in Seoul.
Experts say the latest missile tests by Kim Jong-un’s regime show Pyongyang is, for the first time, actively using testing weapons to target weak points in the advanced missile defense system that protects the U.S., Japan and South Korea.
Before resuming ballistic missile testing in May, North Korea hadn’t test-fired any missiles since November 2017. That pause was a crucial factor in helping create the right conditions for the first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018.
Trump and Kim have met on two other occasions since then, but little progress appears to have been made between the two sides. Trump has played down the significance of North Korea’s recent uptick in missile tests, highlighting the fact that Kim only agreed to stop testing longer-range missiles and nuclear bombs. The launches, however, do violate UN Security Council resolutions and threaten South Korea and Japan.
“Kim Jong-un has been, you know, pretty straight with me, I think,” President Trump told reporters on August 23. “And we’re going to see what’s going on, see what’s happening. He likes testing missiles, but we never restricted short-range missiles, we’ll see what happens. Many nations test those missiles.”