With the latest missile test, a missile has been sent into the sea off North Korea’s east coast. And this incident occurred just ahead of a hugely important meeting between the leaders of the US and China this week. This act can be only described as an insult from Pyongyang to US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
“It was an airborne middle finger to Trump and Xi before they sit down for their summit,” commented Euan Graham, director of the international security program at Australia’s Lowy Institute.
The US response came almost instantly and was delivered by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The content was short and sharp — “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea”.
By opinion of Nick Bisley, director of La Trobe Asia, it is a mistake to assume North Korea is like “a spoiled child”. In his analysis of the situation, the country has a fixed set of aims and ambitions, and want a nuclear weapon attached to a ballistic missile as soon as possible.
A security expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia, Alexander Neill, gave a statement that Pyongyang was not seeking a response with its recent test, and it should be understood like sending a message.
In his opinion: “This is more a sign of bravado,”. “This is Kim Jong Un saying despite all the strictures placed on the North, they’re still capable of carrying on their weapons programs immaterial of outside pressure.”
On this he added: “The likelihood is there are going to be tons of tests this year, so do you continue to put out pro forma statements for each one?”
With his recent election president Trump and the Trump administration has given a promise of progress on the North Korea case, and said it is willing to go it alone without China, usually considered as vital to putting pressure on Pyongyang.
And in this corner, Tillerson’s statement is the first public sign that there might actually be some departure and different results on this subject.
“But it’s very hard to see how you break with Obama and Bush policy on North Korea without making things a lot more dangerous,” he added. “What has changed is that there is now a great deal of confusion and speculation over tactics on both sides of the divide.”