North Korea reacts to US nuclear stunt

Lazy eyes listen


North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, putting on another show of strategic armament as nuclear tensions with the United States rise.

According to Japanese and South Korean military statements, the two missiles were launched early Wednesday from the Sunan area northeast of Pyongyang and traveled 550-600 kilometers (340-370 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan (called as the East Sea by the two Koreas). They ascended to a height of around 50 kilometers.

The latest test comes only one day after the USS Kentucky docked in Busan, marking the first time a US nuclear ballistic missile submarine has visited the peninsula since the 1980s. The Ohio-class submarine is capable of transporting up to 20 Trident II D5 intercontinental missiles.

Lee Jong-sup, South Korea’s defense minister, claimed on Tuesday that the “deployment of US nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) on the Korean Peninsula is an example of action demonstrating that the US extended deterrence against the Republic of Korea will be firmly implemented.”

This year, Pyongyang and Washington have increased purported provocations against each other, including a flurry of North Korean missile testing and large-scale military drills by US and South Korean forces. North Korean officials have argued that they must continue to demonstrate their country’s military power, particularly its nuclear weapons program, in order to maintain peace and stability in the face of rising threats from the South.

On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that the US was willing to pursue peace negotiations with North Korea. Kim Yo-jong, North Korea’s foreign policy chief and Kim Jong-un’s sister, rejected the offer a day later, saying it would be futile to completely forsake Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons development in exchange for concessions that the US could rapidly reverse.

North Korea launched its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, the solid-fueled Hwasong-18, in a show of force last week after accusing the US of flying a surveillance plane over its exclusive economic zone.