North Korea: 18 Missile Salvo Was Warning to South

( – North Korea has fired a series of missiles to warn its southern neighbor it is ready to launch an attack and defend itself from South Korea’s “regime of gangsters.” Dictator Kim Jong Un shot eighteen 600 mm “super-large” rockets off his country’s east coast in what South Korea described as an advertisement of weapons available for sale, potentially to Russia.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin denies any weapons exchange with North Korea, but the two countries have deepened ties since the breakout of the Kremlin’s conflict with Ukraine. UN sanctions prohibit arms deals with North Korea. Nevertheless, US intelligence agencies say there is evidence that North Korean missiles have been used against Ukrainian targets, and the US State Department called the latest North Korean display “reckless” and a violation of several UN resolutions.

South Korea’s spokesperson Kim In-ae told reporters that Pyongyang’s actions are a threat to peace on the Korean peninsula and a further act of provocation by the anti-Western regime.

The newest North Korean missile tests have also exacerbated tensions with Japan, whose citizens reportedly took cover amid fears that the rockets were aimed in their direction. Kim Jong Un notified Japanese authorities of the exercise, who were then forced to reassure Okinawa residents that they were not a target.

Since January, North Korea has conducted more than 20 missile testing exercises, and experts say it is simultaneously increasing its war rhetoric. Uk Yang of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in South Korea said the displays are a likely response to growing allegiances between the United States and South Korea and that the two sides are in a circular series of demonstrations, each aimed at intimidating the other.

Bernard Loo of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore described the North Korean dictator as a “petulant child,” desperately seeking attention and credibility. He cautions, however, that this does not make Kim Jong Un any less dangerous or a threat to world peace.

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