Tensions on the Korean peninsula continue

(VOVworld) – North Korea has carried out a number of missile launches despite strong international opposition. This has increased tensions on the Korean peninsula and nuclear talks can’t be resumed for the moment.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula continue - ảnh 1

On April 1 North Korea launched a short-range missile into its east sea just a few hours after leaders of the US, South Korea, and Japan pledged strengthened coordination to prevent North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs. On April 15 Pyongyang launched a Musudan missile capable of reaching Guam or Alaska. South Korea’s army said the Musudan missile launch failed but it was the first time North Korea had launched such a mobile ballistic missile.

Strengthening nuclear power

On April 24 North Korea said its ballistic missile test launched from a submarine under the command of leader Kim Jong-un had been a great success. Leader Kim praised officials, scientists, and technicians and asked them to speed up this project to increase nuclear power, which will enable attacks on American and South Korean targets at anytime. Jeffrey Lewis of the Middleburry Institute of International Studies in California said if the launch is confirmed it is a big step in North Korea’s nuclear ambition. The US and South Korean militaries spotted activities at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear facility last week, sparking fears of more nuclear tests by Pyongyang in the future. North Korea’s army has reportedly blocked roads in Kilju, north of Hamgyong province, where many military bases are located. North Korea also blocked roads before its 4th nuclear test early this year.

US President Barack Obama has warned of serious risks from North Korea’s continued weapon tests. He said although most of the tests failed North Korea gained experience and new knowledge and the US and its allies should be aware of that.

Confrontation instead of negotiation

North Korea’s Assistant Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song said North Korea does not intend to stop its nuclear tests even if the US halts its annual exercises with South Korea. Analysts, meanwhile, describe North Korea’s missile launches as part of leader Kim’s efforts to consolidate his image prior to the May congress of the Workers’ Party, an unprecedented event in 36 years. A number of analysts say leader Kim will use this occasion to declare his country’s possession of nuclear capability.

Faced with North Korea’s recent moves South Korea has maintained its alert level in fear of a possible 5th nuclear test. President Park Geun Hye has warned that if North Korea’s provocative acts continue it will face stronger sanctions and pressure. China has deployed military forces to its border with North Korea and the US is strengthening its defense capability. President Obama said Washington will deploy anti-missile systems and establish a shield to prevent low-level threats from Pyongyang. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the only way North Korea can integrate into the world community is to commit to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and comply with its international duties. South Korea, the US, and Japan have asked the UN to approve a new sanction resolution if North Korea conducts a 5th nuclear test. The resolution includes tougher sanctions like banning exports of crude oil to North Korea and banning Air Koryo flights to other countries. In Europe, France has urged the EU to approve additional sanctions.

The Korean peninsula has remained divided since World War 2 ended in 1945 and technically the two Koreas are in a state of war. North Korea’s recent missile launches have made peace prospects even more remote.