After North Korea Missile Launch Fails, South Korea and US Watch for Next Moves

After North Korea Missile Launch Fails, South Korea and US Watch for Next Moves

( – As Russia continues its slaughter against Ukraine, the United States is watching China closely over concerns it could invade Taiwan. If that weren’t enough, the region is still contending with North Korea. In 2017, North Korea froze its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program after launching its first missile capable of hitting the US deep in the homeland. Since January, the regime has launched an unprecedented nine missile tests.

On Thursday, March 10, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un said his regime planned to launch reconnaissance satellites to collect information on US military activities over the coming years. Experts say that’s a ruse, and he intends to use nuclear-capable ICBM technology. On Wednesday, March 16, an ICBM exploded over the North Korean capital.

Test Missile Fails

South Korea continually monitors North Korean military activity. The US ally said a missile reportedly exploded over Pyongyang after the military launched it from the nearby international airport. South Korean media reported debris fell in or near the massive city of 3 million people. Unnamed witnesses said they saw the exploding plume of smoke above the city.

Missile experts believe the explosion sent debris up to 125 miles from the explosion point. It was at an approximate altitude of 6.2 miles. The US Indo-Pacific Command confirmed a ballistic missile launch but didn’t confirm if the launch was a success or failure. US officials said the launch didn’t pose a danger to US territories in the region. Additionally, Japan also confirmed the launch. Tokyo said it’s analyzing the launch with partners in Washington and Seoul.

In October 2020, North Korea unveiled its largest ICBM to date. On February 7 and March 5, North Korea fired the Hwasong-17 missile. It’s unknown if Wednesday’s failed missile launch was the Hwasong-17 or a smaller model.

North Korea Blames US for Pursuit of Nuclear Technology

North Korea often uses military exercises to provoke Washington to force the US to end brutal sanctions against the regime. Experts on North Korea say that Kim often tries to provoke the US when geopolitical events are favorable to them. As the US focuses on Russia and watches China closely, North Korea might believe this is a good time to pressure the US into concessions.

North Korea claims the United States needs to end hostilities in the region. In the wake of South Korean elections, the new administration plans to handle North Korea differently. It intends to prioritize military deterrence over diplomatic engagement, which could trigger North Korea to double down.

Some experts say if North Korea is close to obtaining nuclear-capable missiles that can hit America, it may not want to negotiate with the United States. Still, others say Pyongyang will delay nuclear and ICBM tests because it could trigger deeper sanctions and draw the ire of China.

Regardless, the US doesn’t need the additional headache right now, but it will contend with the Hermit Kingdom to keep it in check. It’s unlikely the missile failure will stop Kim Jong-un from future tests or other provocations.

Who knows what or when North Korea will strike next.

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