N. Korea flaunting progress in its missile development

The Yomiuri Shimbun

SEOUL — North Korea’s repeated missile launches are believed to be aimed at showing off its improved nuclear and missile technologies to gain an advantage in its standoff with the United States, with the U.N. Security Council unable to impose additional sanctions due to opposition from China and Russia.

According to a South Korean military source, the North was testing its capability to conduct successive launches and strike accuracy.

Even though the North Korean military is in the middle of its winter training period, it is unusual for Pyongyang to launch four missiles in the space of two weeks.

Park Won-gon, an associated professor at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, said, “The move showed North Korea’s determination to counter the United States with tough measures against tough measures.”

North Korea also launched a missile on Friday, which was thought to be in response to a U.S. announcement of sanctions against Pyongyang.

Pyongyang has launched several kinds of missiles since September last year, but amid discord in the U.N. Security Council, the international body has failed to issue even a statement of condemnation.

“North Korea will make the most of this opportunity, judging that there are few options left for the United States,” Park said.

The United States has called for dialogue without any preconditions attached, but North Korea has maintained its stance of seeking such rewards as a lifting of sanctions to return to the table.

North Korea will make further progress on its nuclear and missile development the longer a diplomatic solution is delayed.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in South Korea, said Pyongyang’s intention is to “put pressure on South Korea and the United States to change their policy toward North Korea.”