North Koreans cheer missile launch in bizarre propaganda film
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South Korea claimed yesterday that its neighbours in the North tested what appeared to be artillery shells as Kim Jong-un continues to ramp up his country’s military activity. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected several flight trajectories, adding that it was likely weapons coming from Pyongyang’s military. Prior to this test, North Korea had undertaken 18 missile tests this year alone, with many experts believing Kim is trying to force the West to relax sanctions against the country. Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi has compared North Korea’s aggression with the situation in Ukraine, warning a similar crisis could take place in East Asia.
Speaking at the Shangri-La dialogue, he said: “The world has become even more uncertain. Japan is surrounded by actors that possess, or are developing, nuclear weapons, and that openly ignore rules.”
Mr Kishi then called China “a nation of concern”, before adding: “Ukraine (today) may be East Asia tomorrow.”
Security expert Ian Chong told CNN that the war in Ukraine could make it harder to convince countries to give up their nuclear arsenals.
He said: “Countries that feel under threat may look at Ukraine and figure that getting rid of [their] nuclear weapons is not the way to go and that might diminish the incentive for them to move towards a nuclear free deal which will become an uphill task.”
The expert was referring to The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which saw Ukraine give up its nuclear weapons while Russia promised not to attack the country.
The treaty dictated that countries such as the UK and UK should “provide assistance to Belarus, Kazakhstan or Ukraine if they should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”.
Mr Chong also said that there had been “a high level of concern about nuclear weapons” at the Shangri-La dialogue.
He continued: “We are seeing a ratcheting up of tensions that is very reflective of the concerns in northeast Asia [at the moment] in the event of any nuclear attack.”
Today, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released a report making concerning claims about North Korea’s recent sabre rattling.
They said in a report: “There are clear indications that the reductions that have characterised global nuclear arsenals since the end of the cold war have ended.
“All of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies – this is a very worrying trend.
“North Korea continues to prioritise its military nuclear program as a central element of its national security strategy. The country’s inventory of fissile material is believed to have grown in 2021.
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“There is no publicly available evidence that North Korea has produced an operational nuclear warhead for delivery by an intercontinental range ballistic missile, but it might have a small number of warheads for medium-range ballistic missiles.”
North Korea’s Supreme Leader continued his inflammatory rhetoric on Saturday, vowing to create a “power-to-power” military.
Kim has also appointed his first female foreign minister.
Choe Son Hui will be the country’s top nuclear negotiator. She was previously the deputy foreign minister and speaks English.
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