North Korea’s military fired a short-range ballistic missile from the Wonsan area on its east coast into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Thursday after it warned the United States of a fiercer military counteraction to their efforts to bolster defense ties with South Korea and Japan.
According to previous statements by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), which has described Pyongyang’s launches as a significant provocation that undermines peace and stability in the international community, the short-range ballistic missile was fired into the Sea of Japan and traveled around 240km at speeds of up to Mach 4.
Washington has been bolstering the defense ties with South Korea and Japan amid rising regional tensions and, in that context, President Biden held a trilateral meeting with its leaders last week in Cambodia.
They pledged deeper ties in their joint statement, condemning Pyongyang’s recent missile tests.
Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui underscored in a statement after the test that the US will realize that it is taking a gamble it will regret for sure, reiterating that the military counteraction of North Korea to threats posted in the region by the US and its allies will be more violent in direct proportion with those threats.
Choe warned that the increasingly tight security ties between the three states would only push the situation on the Korean peninsula into a more unpredictable phase and that America will soon approach Pyongyang as a more serious, realistic, and inevitable threat.
North Korea’s rhetoric has been ramped up in recent weeks, arguing that their launches are simulating” attacks on targets in the US and South Korea in response to their joint drills last month.
According to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul, Pyongyang’s ally Beijing would probably intervene at some point as tensions escalate on the Korean peninsula.
Professor Easly believes that at some point, China will prefer exerting pressure on North Korea rather than face a more strategically united US, Japan, and South Korea.