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Pyongyang goes ballistic
Publication Date : 28-03-2014
It's customary for allied nations to hold periodic joint military exercises to hone their war skills and be in a state of preparedness to tackle unforeseen foreign hostilities and any natural calamities.
But the annual Washington-Seoul military drill invariably raises tension and tempers in the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang getting belligerent.
Of late, North Korea seems to be on a no-holds-barred missile firing mission, apparently against the US-South Korean drill. In a span of few weeks, Pyongyang fired about 70 short-range rockets into the sea, including 30 last Saturday. And yesterday it fired two medium range ballistic missiles in gross violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
It’s not just been a fusillade of firearms, the recluse state has also issued a fresh warning that it would take “nuclear measures” if the US does not end what the pariah state terms as provocation. Given the past offensives and the confrontational attitude of Pyongyang, such threats cannot be overlooked.
And at the same time, the possibility of the North conducting another nuclear test or firing another intercontinental ballistic missile cannot be ruled out.
It’s sad that the North’s obstinate and unyielding policies have resulted in stalling of the six-nation nuclear disarmament talks since 2008.
China, the sole and main ally, often cuts a sorry figure due to North Korean aggressive postures. Nevertheless, Beijing with its clout and influence can continue to push Pyongyang on a corrective trajectory that would improve its economy and ease the humanitarian crisis, under which the country has been reeling since long.
Meanwhile, international efforts have to be revived on disarmament talks to rein in the reclusive state and pre-empt it from launching missiles or conducting nuclear tests as its adventurism is sure to shatter the calm in the region.