Seoul Accuses NKorea of Launching Ballistic Missiles

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff stated on Friday that North Korea had launched two short-range ballistic missiles at around 4:30 p.m. local time, the latest in an unprecedented year of weapons testing.

Seoul Accuses NKorea of Launching Ballistic Missiles
Image credit: Yonhap [via Associated Press]

Facts

  • South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff stated on Friday that North Korea had launched two short-range ballistic missiles at around 4:30 p.m. local time, the latest in an unprecedented year of weapons testing.
  • South Korea claimed that these two missiles were fired from Sunan toward the East Sea, adding that one flew 250 kilometers (155 miles) and the other 350 kilometers, while Japanese media reported a single missile launch flying 300 kilometers.
  • Hours before the launch, the White House accused Pyongyang of delivering arms to the Russian private military Wagner group, an allegation that North Korea's foreign ministry dismissed and deemed fabricated by "dishonest forces."
  • North Korea's latest weapons demonstration comes days after Seoul and Washington conducted joint air drills involving nuclear-capable bombers and advanced stealth jets, drills which Pyongyang typically characterizes as an invasion rehearsal.
  • Over 20 joint military drills are reportedly planned for next year. South Korea's Pres. Yook Suk-yeol has sought to increase cooperation with the US amid mounting tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
  • North Korea has reportedly fired off at least 92 ballistic and other missiles this year. This is a record high despite UN Security Council resolutions banning the North from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices.

Sources: CNN, Korea JoongAng Daily, Al Jazeera, ABC, FOX News, and New York Times.

Narratives

  • Republican narrative, as provided by Red State. You can’t blame Kim Jong-un for flexing North Korea’s military muscle when Biden is recklessly saber-rattling with Taiwan and China — how does he know the US won't also team up with South Korea for an invasion of the North? Trump's relationship with, and policies towards North Korea maintained stability in the Korean Peninsula.
  • Democratic narrative, as provided by MSNBC. Kim Jong-un's geopolitical actions have been erratic, and his missile launches are destabilizing the Peninsula. Instead of provoking a confrontation, the leader should take the Biden administration up on its offer to meet without preconditions, and settle any grievances peacefully. Biden is showing strength and prudence in the region.

Predictions