The messages being sent to President Donald Trump are arriving often and are crystal clear. Kim Jong-un is detonating devices and firing – short-range – missiles to make a point, he wants to be respected and taken seriously. The recent test overseen by Kim himself to test the performance of “large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons.” Confirmation of the tests, which were first reported in South Korea, makes these launches the first missile launch by Pyongyang since November 2017.
More importantly, these are the first launches since Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump held two summits in June last year and February aimed easing tensions on the war-torn peninsula that has seen tensions fade in the past 18 months. These new, solid fuel ballistic missiles are built to fly 310 miles, putting the entire peninsula within range. They are also capable of neutralizing the most advanced US missiles – the US defense system know as THAAD, with is now deployed in South Korea, according to South Korean sources. Now these missiles are actually within the range of missiles that can be fired and not in the arrangements between Trump and Kim – Kim is just letting people know he is not satisfied with the current situation.
So the missiles fly and we wait for the next moves by these leaders. Finally, the concerns are growing because there is too much activity at bases in North Korea – Japan, the US, and South Korea are hoping for a quiet period, but for now, it seems like wishful thinking.