DPRK fires ballistic missile, vows 'fiercer' military response
DPRK launches a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul's military.
The latest in a series of launches aimed at downplaying western provocations and threats, DPRK launched a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul's military, as Pyongyang threatened a "fiercer" military response to the US and its regional allies.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military had "detected around 10:48 am (0148 GMT) one short-range ballistic missile fired from the Wonsan area in Kangwon province."
"The military has stepped up monitoring and guard and is maintaining utmost readiness in close coordination with the US," it added.
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier this week about DPRK's recent spate of missile tests.
After a series of missile launches fuelled concerns that DPRK would soon conduct its seventh alleged nuclear test, the US President urged China to exert pressure on its ally. Biden also spoke Sunday with the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol and Fumio Kishida, to discuss ways to counter the threat posed by DPRK's "unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," according to the White House.
DPRK's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, slammed Thursday those talks, saying they were "bringing the situation on the Korean peninsula to an unpredictable phase."
"The US bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts," Choe said in a statement reported by state news agency KCNA.
The more efforts Washington will make to fortify its security pact with Seoul and Tokyo, "the fiercer the DPRK's military counteraction will be," Choe said.
According to experts, the launch of the missile on Thursday was timed to coincide with the Foreign Minister's statement from Pyongyang.
DPRK "fired the missile after releasing the statement hours earlier in an attempt to justify the launch to send its message to the US and Japan," Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute told AFP.
DPRK launched numerous missiles earlier this month, including a barrage on November 2 that included 23 missiles, more than it did in 2017, the year of "fire and fury" in which Kim and the US President at the time, Donald Trump, traded insults.
Hundreds of US and South Korean warplanes, including B-1B heavy bombers, took part in joint air drills, which have long sparked strong reactions from DPRK.
Experts claim DPRK is seizing the opportunity to conduct "prohibited" missile tests, confident of avoiding additional UN sanctions due to the Ukraine-related gridlock at the UN.
China, Pyongyang's main diplomatic and economic ally, joined Russia in May in vetoing a US-led bid at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on DPRK.
DPRK warns US, allies of proportional response to bolstering US extended deterrence
DPRK Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui warned the US and its regional allies on Thursday that Pyongyang will respond proportionally to Washington's strengthening of extended deterrence and intensification of provocative military activities in the region.
"The keener the US is on the 'bolstered offer of extended deterrence to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluffing military activities on the Korean peninsula and in the region, the fiercer the DPRK's military counteraction will be, in direct proportion to it, and it will pose a more serious, realistic and inevitable threat to the US and its vassal forces," the Foreign Minister said in a statement, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The Minister noted that "staged large-scale war drills" of the US and its allies in the region not only failed to contain Pyongyang but also "resulted in increasing their security crisis."
"The US 'bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts that will bring more serious instability to the US and its allies," the Minister said.
Since the beginning of 2022, DPRK has conducted over 30 missile tests. Pyongyang launched more than 20 missiles of various types on November 2.
Pyongyang maintains that DPRK's military activities are in response to provocations by South Korea and its allies, the United States and Japan.