Most likely, this is a technical test, rather than an attempt by Pyongyang to send some kind of political signal. On Thursday, May 12, Konstantin Asmolov, a leading researcher at the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, expressed this opinion in an interview with Izvestia, commenting on the launch of three ballistic missiles by North Korea.
“The important point is who was present at this launch. If this launch has a purely technical need, simply because some new weapon options need to be tested in practice, at best there will be someone from the highest military personnel. When it comes to an event that has not only a military-technical, but also a political aspect, [лидер Северной Кореи] Kim Jong-un comes to watch for himself. And now he is much more busy with the issue of localizing the outbreak of coronavirus, ”the expert noted.
At the same time, Asmolov recalled that on May 11, the UN Security Council met to discuss the new package of sanctions against the DPRK proposed by the United States. As the Korean scholar said, it was supposed to further tighten exports to the North, including the minimum permitted energy supplies, in order to effectively put the DPRK in a blockade.
“The matter did not come to a vote, as Russia and China strongly opposed it. So I’m not sure that this (rocket launches – Ed.) was the answer. In the case of short-range missiles, formally Pyongyang was in its right and did not violate anything, ”Asmolov concluded.
Earlier in the day, the Chosun news agency, citing a statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean Armed Forces, reported that the DPRK had launched three short-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan.
The day before, Anna Evstigneeva, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, stressed that Russia opposes military activity on the Korean Peninsula. According to her, the only sure way to peacefully solve the problems of the region and create strong security mechanisms in Northeast Asia is to search for “mutually acceptable political and diplomatic solutions.”
In addition, Evstigneeva stressed the futility of expectations from the DPRK for disarmament in the face of increasing sanctions. In particular, she told her “American colleagues” that the talks should be bilateral. At the same time, the creation of new military blocs in the region, such as the unification of the United States, Great Britain and Australia, raises serious doubts about the good intentions of these countries, including from Pyongyang.
In addition, the further escalation of sanctions against the DPRK goes beyond measures to cut off channels for financing nuclear missile programs and threatens the population of this country with humanitarian shocks.
On March 25, Washington made a proposal to the UN Security Council to consider increased sanctions pressure on North Korea in connection with the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at a Security Council meeting that the UN Security Council should “condemn with one voice” Pyongyang’s dangerous actions.