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S. Korea, U.S. respond 'sternly' to N. Korea's growing nuclear, missile threats: What's next?
Updated: 2022-06-07 05:34:26 KST
Seoul and Washington fired eight missiles from South Korea, demonstrating the allies deterrence and capability against threats from North Korea.
The show of force followed North Korea's firing of eight missiles the day before, where it launched short-ranged ballistic missiles and new tactical guided weapons from 4 different locations.
President Yoon Suk-yeol said he would respond firmly and sternly to nuclear and missile threats from the North, which he said were advancing by the day.
The South and the U.S. believe the North will soon hold a nuclear test.. its seventh since 2006 and the first since September 2017, when it claimed to have successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb to fit on its ICBMs.
We discuss the latest developments with MIN Jeong-hun, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

1. North Korea fired eight missiles Sunday morning into the East Sea from four locations? It is unusual to fire 8 rounds at once. It was the 18th provocation this year, and it took place after the three-day joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States. What do you make of the timing of the North's Sunday launch?

2. Professor Min: Some believe the North's firing of 8 missiles is to develop tactics to break through the Korean Missile Defense (KAMD), as launching from two or more origins at the same time could weaken the chances of intercepting the projectiles. Would you agree with this interpretation? Was this launch directed at South Korea rather than the U.S.?

4. Professor Min: It seems the North used short-range ballistic missiles and new tactical guided weapons including the KN-23, -24, and-25 which can be equipped with nuclear warheads. How close do you think we are to seeing a nuclear test by the North? What kind of progress do you expect to see on the 7th?

5. North Korea's state media seems to have kept quiet about its missile launches since May. Is it trying to keep things quiet domestically? What do you think the silence indicates?

6. In response to North Korea's provocation earlier this month, Seoul's Presidential Office held an emergency NSC meeting. Chief envoys of S. Korea and the U.S. also held talks in Seoul and also had three-way consultation with Japan. Compared to the previous administration, the South Korea-U.S.-Japan response has become significantly stronger. How will this affect relations with North Korea in the future?

7. Professor Min: S. Korea and the U.S. fired 8 missiles in response to North Korea's provocation on Monday. What do you make of this response, and how do you think the North will react?

8. Professor Min: With growing threat towards South Korea and Japan, how is Seoul beefing up its missile defence and weapons capability against the North? What is your recommendation?

9. S. Korea and the U.S. fired 8 missiles in response to North Korea's provocation on Monday. Do you see an arms race escalating in the region?

MIN Jeong-hun, Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

Thank you for your time today.
Reporter : osy@arirang.com