Global Tension and Condemnation Mounting As North Korea Launches Two Missiles

Global Tension and Condemnation Mounting As North Korea Launches Two Missiles
Photo Credit:AP/達志影像

What you need to know

Since North Korea performed it fourth nuclear test on January 6, tensions have been mounting in the region. On March 18, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan, leading to strong condemnation from Japan, South Korea and the US.

Compiled and Translated by Shin-wei Chang

On March 18, North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles in the Sea of Japan with a mobile launcher, making them hard for the US military to track.

UDN News reports, the first one flew 800 kilometers (approximately 500 miles) before it disappeared into the sea. Twenty minutes later, a second missile was fired, but its signal soon disappeared on the radar. Experts assume that the second one probably broke into pieces in the air, but investigations still need to be carried out to confirm this.

John Kerry, secretary of state of the US Department of State, released a statement concerning these launches saying that the US is “closely monitoring” the situation. In the statement, Kerry calls on North Korea to “refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region.” In addition, Kerry reiterates the US’ steady commitment in defense of its ally, including the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan.

Reuters reports, Abe Shinzo, Japan’s prime minister, not only strongly condemns the move, but also recognizes it as “extremely problematic.” Abe also vows to “take all necessary measures,” including establishing warning and surveillance systems, to respond to any threatening situation North Korea might cause.

China Times reports, Oh Joon, South Korea’s ambassador to the UN, also warns North Korea against further provoking actions, or the UN Security Council might pass and impose more severe sanctions against the country.

BBC News reports, according to the UN, North Korea is barred from using or testing any ballistic or short-term missiles.

However on January 6, North Korea launched a nuclear test, which has led to criticisms from abroad. The country also successfully launched a satellite on February 7. Such actions are all considered violations to the UN sanction.

In response to North Korea’s nuclear test, on February 19, the US Congress passed a sanction that freezes the assets of anyone that is devoted to nuclear programs or the abuse of human rights in North Korea.

On March 9, North Korea claimed to have miniaturized the nuclear warheads into a size that ballistic missiles can carry. However, the truth of this claim is questionable and US officials still believe North Korea’s threat is manageable. On March 12, South Korea and US troops performed the “largest ever” joint military exercise, in which 30,000 South Korean troops and 17,000 from the US participated.

On March 17, the day before North Korea fired two ballistic missiles, US President Barack Obama signed the previously mentioned sanction, which BBC News refers to as “the harshest sanctions against North Korea in decades.”

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
“North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile Into Sea” (The Wall Street Journal)
“North Korea launches ballistic missiles” (CNN)
“On North Korea’s Reported Missile Launch” (The US Department of State)
“Japan strongly condemns North Korea’s Missile launch – PM Abe” (Reuters)
“South Korea says North Korea has fired a ballistic missile in to the sea” (Associated Press)
“Barack Obama imposes New North Korea sanctions” (BBC News)
“North Korea claims to have nuclear warheads that can fit on missiles” (CNN)
“New North Korea sanctions issued by President Obama" (BBC News)
UDN News
China Times
CNA