North Korea’s ICBM

North Korea has launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile. Both the U.S. and the South Korean armies inside South Korea kept it in check by exercising missile firing drills. Measures to prevent an accidental collision are necessary, especially now when tensions are high.

The missile fell in the exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan by Hokkaido and Okushiri Island. It was launched at an angle so as to reach a high altitude, but there are U.S. experts who say that if the missile had been fired at a regular angle, it would have reached as far as the Midwest.

Issues concerning re-entry into the atmosphere and the warhead’s guidance system remain, but this time it was late at night, when it is difficult to detect the missile in advance. One cannot turn a blind eye toward the continuing development of ICBMs.

The United States, together with Japan and South Korea, put military pressure on North Korea. On July 30, two U.S. B-1 strategic bombers and two Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighters conducted joint training exercises from Kyushu to the Korean Peninsula. Subsequently, a U.S. B-1 conducted training with a Korean Air Force aircraft.

The concern is that there will be an accidental collision over the Korean Peninsula. In a situation where the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea display their military power toward one another, the possibility of misinformation, misguided judgment, or an overreaction causing a local conflict to arise is not zero.

Countermeasures must be taken quickly to avoid confronting a crisis across all of East Asia. As the South Korean government proposed, first dialogue should begin with North Korea about military affairs, communication lines between the military leaders should be normalized, and a system to contact each other in emergencies should be prepared.

Right now, North Korea is holding three Americans who have been charged with committing hostile acts during their visit to the country. It seems the Trump administration is continuing to request those citizens’ release. The United States will need a strategy to enter negotiations concerning the nuclear missile issue and to resume communications in order to resolve the mistrust between the two parties.

Meanwhile, allied nations have fail to reach an agreement, and a sufficient network of support cannot be built. The United States will continue to put pressure on North Korea and impose sanctions, and Japan will also act accordingly. During times of conflict, South Korea, the party concerned, wavers between pausing for dialogue and applying pressure.

China says it will increase the level of sanctions, but it has made an appeal for a solution using coercion together with discussion. Russia underestimates North Korea’s ICBMs, and one can see a movement to economically support North Korea.

There is no doubt that a significant amount of North Korea’s foreign currency is being devoted to nuclear missile development. China and Russia should wholly enforce the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council. If the international community does not cooperate with respect to these five countries, including Japan, the United States and South Korea, then North Korea’s reckless behavior cannot be stopped.

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