Nadezhda Alekseeva, Elizaveta Komarova
The North Korean leadership said that the US authorities took hostile steps and tried to deprive the republic of “its right to self-defense.” Pyongyang believes that the military threat from the United States has reached a “dangerous line”, and this can no longer be ignored.
The authorities also stated that the confrontation with the United States was becoming protracted, and did not rule out that bilateral agreements aimed at normalizing relations between states could be revised. Experts believe that this is most likely about the rejection of the agreements concluded by Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. At the same time, analysts do not rule out that Pyongyang’s demonstrative steps, such as missile launches, are designed to draw the attention of the world community to the problem.
The North Korean authorities accused the United States of taking hostile steps and trying to deprive the republic of the right to self-defense. This statement was published by the Central Telegraph Agency of the DPRK (KCNA) following the sixth meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea of ??the VIII convocation, chaired by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Over the past few years since the DPRK-US summit, Washington has carried out hundreds of military maneuvers, supplying South Korea with ultra-modern weapons and deploying strategic nuclear weapons in the area of ??the Korean Peninsula, thereby threatening our state,” the message says, the text of which quotes TASS.
In Pyongyang, they believe that “the hostile policy and military threat from the United States has reached a dangerous point that can no longer be ignored.” In addition, North Korean politicians believe that the confrontation with Washington is becoming “protracted.”
The leadership of the republic also announced the decision to begin work to strengthen the national defense, using “physical means capable of effectively controlling the hostile actions of the United States against the DPRK, which are becoming more and more serious day by day.”
In this regard, “the relevant authorities have been instructed to review the confidence-building measures (between Pyongyang and Washington. – RT ) that the DPRK has taken on its own initiative, and to study in detail the issue of resuming all temporarily suspended activities,” the news agency said.
As Alexander Vorontsov, head of the department of Korea and Mongolia at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, suggested in a RT commentary, we can talk about Pyongyang’s departure from those oral agreements reached by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
“Unfortunately, this situation was allowed, and to a certain extent was expected. However, we still need to see real steps. If the DPRK begins serious weapons testing, we can talk about the end of a relatively calm period on the Korean Peninsula. The last nuclear test was carried out by the northerners in 2017, since then they have shown restraint, ”the analyst says.
In turn, Konstantin Asmolov, a researcher at the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, suggests not rushing to conclusions, since Pyongyang has not yet announced any specific step.
“The key point here is that the DPRK is just exploring the possibility of revising its voluntary commitments. However, even if the northerners change their minds, they will not violate anything. The moratorium on nuclear tests, as well as intercontinental ballistic tests, was announced by Kim Jong-un as a gesture of goodwill, ”the expert recalled.
“Continues to develop banned programs”
Recall that the previous round of tension on the Korean Peninsula fell on the first year of the presidency of Republican Donald Trump. In 2017, Pyongyang conducted a series of tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), as well as a hydrogen warhead for it. Then relations between Pyongyang and Washington deteriorated greatly – analysts did not rule out the beginning of an armed confrontation.
However, in 2018, there was a turning point in the dialogue, which was facilitated by the election of Moon Jae-in as President of South Korea, who advocated the peaceful resolution of contradictions. The first summit between the North Korean and American leaders was held in Singapore that same year. Pyongyang then committed itself to getting rid of nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from the United States. However, there were no reciprocal steps from the American side – Washington insisted that the nuclear disarmament of the DPRK be carried out before the lifting of economic sanctions on the republic, and did not go in parallel with this process. Subsequent meetings between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in 2019 did not produce practical results.
The new administration of the White House made no noticeable efforts to establish a dialogue with Pyongyang. Against this background, the North Korean side stepped up work on new weapons.
So, in mid-January, the TsNAK and the English version of the Voice of Korea announced the completion of tests of their own hypersonic missile system in the DPRK. In Tokyo and Seoul, it was then confirmed that on January 11, the North Korean side did test weapons that reached hypersonic speed. According to Japanese and South Korean observers, the rocket reached Mach 10. This test was preceded by two similar launches – in September 2021 and January 5, 2022. Pyongyang’s actions did not go unnoticed in the United States. So, in early January, the head of the State Department, Anthony Blinken , said that “North Korea’s illegal nuclear and missile programs pose a constant threat.” Soon, the US Department of the Treasury added five citizens of the DPRK and one Russian to the list of persons whom Washington considers involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“The recent missile launches by the DPRK are further evidence that the country continues to develop prohibited programs, despite calls from the international community for a diplomatic settlement and denuclearization,” said US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury for Counterterr-orism and Financial Intelli-gence Brian Nelson, commenting on this. solution.
In turn, Blinken called the Russian company Parsek a “key source” of components for North Korea’s missile program.
As Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted , this statement is viewed in Moscow as “absolutely unacceptable and unacceptable.”
“They only demonstrate readiness for dialogue”
According to experts, in the current situation, the threat of new sanctions is unlikely to affect Pyongyang – North Korea is already in an almost complete economic blockade. “The DPRK is subject to such massive sanctions that it is simply impossible to supplement them with something. Moreover, North Korea also strengthened this blockade as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – the country introduced an impenetrable self-isolation regime, tightly closed the border. This caused great surprise in the West. And these measures even more negatively affected the country’s economy than Western restrictions,” said Vorontsov.
According to him, under these conditions, North Korean missile launches look even more unusual in the eyes of the West, since this means that the military industry continues to develop in the republic.
“And the military-technical complex is a whole block of large industries: metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and the chemical industry. This is confirmation that, despite isolation, the North Korean industrial sector is in a good position,” the expert explained. A similar point of view is shared by Konstantin Asmolov. He also drew attention to the fact that the DPRK has been living under a blockade for a long time.
“At first, sanctions were a barrier, and then the republic itself went into self-isolation for two years. It is clear that this is not easy, but the DPRK is trying to create a self-sufficient economy, ”the expert noted. At the same time, Pyongyang continued weapons testing. So, on January 14, the DPRK launched an unidentified projectile in an easterly direction, as reported by the South Korean agency “Yonhap” with reference to the military of the republic.
Three days later, the North Korean side conducted a test launch of tactical guided missiles. These steps by Pyongyang were the subject of telephone conversations between US Special Representative for the DPRK Sun Kim, Director General of the Asia and Oceania Department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Funakoshi Takehiro and South Korea’s Special Representative for Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula Roh Kyu Dok.
According to the State Department, the representative of Washington “expressed concern about the missile launches by Pyongyang, which were carried out in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions and completed a series of ballistic missile launches carried out by the DPRK this month.” “Sung Kim called on the DPRK to stop its illegal and destabilizing activities and instead start a dialogue, emphasizing the continued openness of the United States to meet with representatives of the DPRK without any preconditions,” the US Foreign Office said.
At the same time, experts doubt that Washington is really set to negotiate with Pyongyang.
“The Biden administration clearly understands that North Korea is unlikely to unleash a war, since its potential is the potential for nuclear deterrence. And the White House is not interested in negotiations – it is busy with more pressing issues for it, ”explained Konstantin Asmolov.
In turn, Alexander Vorontsov believes that the recent series of North Korean missile launches can be regarded as a signal to the American side and other states.
“Today, American politicians are only demonstrating their readiness for dialogue, but they proceed from the fact that the DPRK should be the first to make concessions, the main of which is nuclear disarmament. However, Pyongyang is not satisfied with such a narrow interpretation, and it is trying to draw the attention of the world community to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, ”the expert summed up.