U.S. Sanctions Motivate New North Korean Missile Firing

North Korea missiles. | Image from ABC

North Korea has demonstrated an apparent response to the sanctions that the Biden administration imposed for its test launches: the January 14 discharge of two new short-range ballistic missiles.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles originated from North Pyongan, a western province of North Korea. Just hours prior, North Korea had admonished the Biden administration, warning of more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.”

The sanctions that the U.S. initially imposed came after North Korea ramped up recent tests. The country launched a hypersonic missile on January 11 – which was the second this week. Since negotiations with Former President Trump derailed in 2019, Kim Jong Un has pledged to further deploy the North Korean nuclear arsenal, extolling it as the strongest guarantee of survival.

The 2019 negotiations failed because the U.S. rejected Kim’s demand for significant sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The Biden administration has allegedly offered to resume talks, but Kim’s government has dismissed them, declaring that Washington must first abandon its “hostile policy.”

“North Korea is trying to lay a trap for the Biden administration,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. “It has queued up missiles that it wants to test anyway and is responding to U.S. pressure with additional provocations to extort concessions.”

Easley also shared that North Korea seems to signal that it will not be ignored and will react to pressure.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency issued a statement made by a Foreign Minister. The spokesperson accused the Biden administration of having a “gangster-like” stance, and that their development of the new missile is a part of efforts to modernize the military.

He said that the missiles do not target any specific country nor threaten its neighbor’s security and that the sanctions were a part of a plan to “isolate and stifle” North Korea.

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