In recent weeks, concerns have mounted that a North Korean provocation near the Northern Limit Line was possible, especially in the run-up to the US and South Korean elections. Now, with the U.S. allowing South Korea to develop missiles with greater range and payload, attention seems likely to shift to how North Korea reacts to the new missile limits. Could another missile test be in the works?
For their part, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement, a day after the powerful National Defense Commission spoke out. As was done in the NDC statement, the MFA claims that the Korean People’s Army “is keeping within the scope of strike not only the U.S. military bases in south Korea and its vicinity but also the U.S. mainland.”
In addition, the statement says that the US has “destroyed” the mechanisms for preventing a “worldwide proliferation of ballistic missiles” and thrown a “wet blanket over the effort for restraint of long-range missile launch and all other efforts for stability of the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding areas.”
Most ominously, the North claims that the US no longer has any “moral qualifications to talk about the development of the DPRK’s missile capability…” and that “it is natural for the DPRK to bolster missile capability…” It finishes with a threat a threat that the move will “[endanger] the security of the US mainland…”
Much of this is the typical North Korean bluster seen on a daily basis in propaganda outlets like the Korean Central News Agency and Rodong Sinmun. But the move by the US and South Koreans is also attracting criticism from Western arms experts. Jeffrey Lewis, writing at Foreign Policy, states that the measure will “worsen security dynamics in Northeast Asia and accelerate the spread of long-range missiles.” And Dan Pinkston, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, believes that a response by the North Koreans is likely as a result.
Full text of North Korean statement below:
Pyongyang, October 10 (KCNA) — A spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK Wednesday issued a statement denouncing the U.S. for opening the way for south Korea to develop missiles capable of reaching any part of the DPRK.
The U.S. intention is to use south Korea, which regards the confrontation with the fellow countrymen as a means of its existence, as a shock brigade in implementing its hostile policy towards the DPRK and igniting a war against it, the statement said, and went on:
It is for this purpose that the U.S. discarded its mask of deterring the ballistic missiles proliferation and opted for improving the missile capability of south Korea in a bid to preempt an attack on the strategic armed forces of the DPRK.
As was clarified by the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK, the Korean People’s Army is keeping within the scope of strike not only the U.S. military bases in south Korea and its vicinity but also the U.S. mainland.
So huge will be the consequences to be entailed by the U.S. missile development plan. It destroyed by itself the “missile technology control system” for preventing the worldwide proliferation of the ballistic missiles. It threw a wet blanket over the effort for restraint of long-range missile launch and all other efforts for stability of the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding areas, and destroyed the foundation for dialogue and negotiations.
The U.S. is left with no moral qualifications to talk about the development of the DPRK’s missile capability as it is the chieftain that sparked off new missile arms race in Northeast Asia.
The U.S. has so far stepped up sanctions against the DPRK, calling for preventing its satellite launch for peaceful purposes while claiming that satellite also uses the ballistic missile technology. But, now it is in a position unable to make any excuses even though the DPRK launches a long-range missile for military purposes.
It is natural for the DPRK to bolster missile capability for striking the stronghold of aggression under the condition that the U.S. intends to put forward south Korean puppet forces as a bullet-shield after deploying a great number of nukes and missiles targeted against the DPRK.
The recent missile move will result in endangering the security of the U.S. mainland, far from ensuring it. The U.S. will have to hold full responsible for it.