Reports from Seoul say that in a demonstration of military strength, North Korea fired 5 short-range missiles off their eastern coast on Sunday. This comes after days of threats of nuclear assault against the United States, which many officials claim are impotent.
The five missiles were launched near Wonsan, nearby the North Korean capital, and flew 125 miles only to hit the sea, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman, who remains customarily anonymous, here said on the customary condition of anonymity.
Just one day prior, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed to have overseen a test firing of a new anti-ship missile. This event marks yet another show of power by Mr. Kim, a show that has become increasingly regular as his dictatorship continues to tighten its totalitarian grip on the small nation.
North Korea has been attempting to develop a small nuclear warhead that can fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile missiles, which is forbidden by the UN. While analysts doubt that such a weapon could reach the U.S., it could strike South Korea, Japan, and American forces nearby.
The UN imposed sanctions on North Korea banning the use of long-range missiles; however, the use of short-range ballistic weapons are permitted–a fact that Kim Jong-un has been more than willing to take advantage of.
While North Korea’s goals are still shrouded in mystery, many believe that this display of power is nothing more than a plea for aid. In the past, U.S. officials have ratcheted down this kinds of escalation by offering concessions on sanctions against North Korea and allowing aid into the country. It is a good chance that this chest pounding is yet another attempt to wrestle concessions from the United States.
Another possibility remains that Kim Jong-un is trying to hold North Korea together despite his austerity measure in North Korea. Famine and widespread impoverishment ravage the nation and by continuously focusing on the U.S. as an oppressive enemy, the North Korean dictator can more easily maintain control of the population.
Yet another reason for the display of military might could be that Kim Jong-un sees the military collaboration between the U.S. and South Korea as a threat. Just last month, the North Korean dictator called for a moratorium on its nuclear tests if the two nations ceased their joint military drills.
Kim Jong-un has stated that he believes such drills are an act of aggression and a training exercise for the invasion of North Korea. In recent weeks, Mr. Jong-un has stated that he no longer feels the need to negotiate with the U.S.
U.S. military officials say that while missiles aimed into the sea will be ignored, in all likelihood, any nuclear missile fired by North Korea against a land target would be easily deflected by sea-based missile interception technology.