North Korea test-fired two missiles yesterday from the eastern edge of the nation toward Japan. They flew about 155 miles, then fell into the Sea of Japan.
This was the second test-firing in a week. On July 25, two missiles of a different type had been sent toward Japan, with the furthest flight reaching 428 miles. That’s roughly 2/3 of the distance between North Korea and Japan, along the missile flight path.
According to the Korea Herald, the missile launches toward Japan have caused concern in South Korea, but not enough to modify policy.
“Members decided to continue diplomatic efforts to prevent losing the momentum for resumption of negotiations for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that was created by the historic South-North-US meeting at Panmunjom,”Cheong Wa Dae, the office of the President of South Korea
The South Koreans noted that the missiles seem to bear close resemblance to the Russian-designed Iskanders.
The reason for the increased missile activity seems to be the upcoming joint US-South Korea military operations.
The spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Trump had reaffirmed in a meeting with Kim last month that joint exercises would be halted adding that the U.S. decision to proceed with them was “clearly a breach” of the leaders’ agreements made at a summit in Singapore last year.Reuters
There is no official record of President Trump making such a promise to Kim Jong Un, but it is plausible based on Trump’s public statements of affection for the North Korean dictator. North Korea’s long history of official fictions leave the veracity of their statement in significant doubt.
The joint operations between the US and South Korea have already been scaled back from what was originally planned. Operations have been postponed, dramatically reduced, and even completely abandoned during President Trump’s term. The operation planned for August is to be primarily held through computer simulations, with a component involving live efforts.