May 04, 2019
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff revealed that on Saturday, May 4th, North Korea had launched several unidentified short-range missiles into the waters off its eastern coast.
Random missile launches such as this have mostly followed diplomatic and economic frustrations from Pyongyang, this time due to stalled diplomatic talks between North Korea and the U.S. Pyongyang has asked for sanctions relief, but the U.S. has refused to provide any relief until the North gives up its nuclear armaments.
This breakdown in diplomatic talks followed a failed summit between president Trump and chairman Kim in Hanoi on February 27, 2019, where both parties departed the summit early, having been unable to reach an agreeable deal. Since then, the North has called for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s removal from nuclear negotiations as well as criticizing nation security advisor John Bolton. In return, the U.S. has not offered any sanctions relief, though president Trump has said that he’s willing to meet with Kim once more.
The North has offered some armament moves in return for broad sanctions relief, a deal which the U.S. found as insufficient.
In response to this recent launch, South Korea has focused its surveillance for additional launches, with U.S. authorities analyzing the North’s movements. It has yet to be confirmed if the North shot banned ballistic missiles, but if it has, this would be the first of such firings since their November 2017 test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Multiple tests were carried out that year, and an aggressive response from President Trump had many fearing an escalation to war in the Korean Peninsula.
Following the North’s 2017 weapons tests, chairman Kim said the North would cease testing of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, and these short range-projectiles seem to be a way for the North to simply vent their frustration with Washington, without violating Kim’s original moratorium.
– MK. II