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North Korean missiles: international impotence

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North Korean missiles: international impotence

Imperturbable, North Korea multiplies its firing of ballistic missiles. Twenty shots since the beginning of the year, before the latest, Tuesday, October 4, which flew over Japan (the 7th of its kind since 1998) to crash 4,700 kilometers away, in the Pacific. Japan activated its maximum alert system, condemning this shooting described as “act of violence”. South Korea, for its part, spoke of “provocation” which “clearly violates universal principles and United Nations standards”. In the process, Washington promised, after consultation with Japan and South Korea, a ” robust response” to this shot. Same tone on the side of the European Union, condemning “strongly an unjustified aggression”. “Few options for the international community” However, despite these unanimous statements castigating these repeated firings of North Korean ballistic missiles, nothing seems to be able to stop this process which has now been going on for years. “Admittedly, this last shot flew over Japan,” explains Valérie Niquet, North Korea specialist at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), “but in its development of the nuclear and ballistic program it has little choice, unless they shoot towards Russia in the north, which they won’t. “And to simply note that” there are few options for neighbors and the international community to put an end to these ballistic missile firings. “North Korea has already been under UN sanctions since 2006. Concretely, North Korea has already been the subject of very severe economic sanctions from the UN since 2006 when Pyongyang carried out its first underground nuclear test of great power, before a second even more powerful in 2009. If these sanctions are well applied by Western countries, China has never stopped supplying North Korea with energy and food, as has neighboring Russia, to a lesser extent. North Korea’s underground financial networks in Southeast Asia have also enabled it to continue financing its nuclear and ballistic programs. “With the Covid epidemic, the process has slowed down, explains Valérie Niquet. , but now North Korea is taking advantage that all eyes are on the war in Ukraine to reminisce about the good memories of its Japanese and American neighbors, knowing that it is not risking much. »Be recognized as a nuclear powerWhile negotiations on the denuclearization of North Korea have stalled since the failure of dialogue with Donald Trump in Hanoi, Pyongyang has stepped up plans to modernize its armaments. The country notably launched, at the start of the year, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017 and reviewed its legislation to make its status as a nuclear power “irreversible”. “Pyongyang will continue its firing, imperturbably, knowing that she risks nothing, ”concludes Valérie Niquet, while South Korean and American officials have been warning for months that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing to carry out a seventh nuclear test. An even more worrying scenario but which will not provoke international reactions: the current sanctions are already radical, and adopting new ones would be useless. Bombardments on the launch sites would be hazardous since Pyongyang can fire from anywhere with its trucks highly mobile missile launchers. Moreover, bombing North Korean territory would provoke a murderous regional military conflict. Pyongyang’s ultimate goal remains to officially enter the list of countries with nuclear power.

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