Beijing – North Korea tested twoThursday. It was the first such launch by Kim Jong Un since President Joe Biden took office, testing what the Kim regime claimed were “new-type tactical guided projectiles” that hit their test targets off the east coast of the United States. country.
The launches occurred just hours before Mr. Bidenas commander-in-chief, during which the president confirmed that the projectiles were ballistic missiles and therefore a violation of United Nations sanctions that prohibit North Korea from testing such weapons.
The missiles flew approximately 270 miles and landed in the East Sea. In its report on Friday claiming the missiles were a newly developed variety, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said Kim himself did not observe the launch, which he did in some earlier missile tests.
Biden said he viewed North Korea as his top foreign policy challenge, and one on which he continually consulted with U.S. allies and partners as the White House seeks to devise a new policy to address the threat.
“There will be answers if they decide to escalate,” Biden said. “We will respond accordingly. But I am also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditional on the end result of denuclearization.”
“It’s a clear statement of intimidation,” South Korea’s retired Lieutenant General Chun In-bum told CBS News. He saidI wanted to show the world that “they are not bound by any external rules. The two short-range ballistic missiles could have been intermediate or long-range missiles if [North] Korea intended to do so. This will go on and on until North Korea goes too far, and that is what I fear. ”
North Korea has tested many missiles over the years, and the regime often tests new and incumbent US presidents in this way to gain attention and show anger. Thursday’s launch was the first test of a banned missile in a year, coming just days after the Kim regime’s first test of any weapon across all systems since Biden took office.
Biden brushed off the weekend’s test with a chuckle, but his comments Thursday showed concern within his administration over calculated and growing threats from North Korea.
The US military’s Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement Thursday that it was “aware of North Korean missile launches” and would continue to monitor the situation and “consult closely with our allies and partners.”
“This activity highlights the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons program poses to its neighbors and the international community,” the command said. “The United States’ Commitment to the Defense of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and Japan remains battleship. “
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austinand stressed that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula remained one of the top priorities of the new administration.
The Biden White House is conducting a review of its North Korean policy, and an update is expected in the coming weeks.
“It is an overwhelming challenge for the Biden administration,” said Won Gon Park, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Women’s University in South Korea.
“Before finalizing its review of North Korean policy, the Biden administration is forced to respond to the North Korean provocation,” he told CBS News. “The Biden administration wants to emphasize the principles and norms of international order. Since North Korea’s ballistic missile is a clear violation of UN Resolution 1874, they need to convene the Security Council and condemn North Korea.”
North Korea has a long history of taking advantage of missile launches to try to win concessions from Washington at the negotiating table, often demanding financial aid and other assistance. The country is one of the poorest in the world and was reportedly dealing with famine and drought even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“To prevent North Korea from advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities, it is important that South Korea and the United States bring North Korea back to the negotiating table through quadripartite talks involving China, Korea. South, the United States and North Korea. “Said Cheong Seong-Chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies in South Korea. “Getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, which the North considers vital to its security, is as nearly impossible as getting Israel, India and Pakistan to give up their own nuclear weapons.”
Jen Kwon of CBS News in Seoul and Tucker Reals in London contributed to this report.