The article originally appeared on India Today.

Joining the US and its allies in condemning North Korea on its International Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test launch, India has called upon “North Korea to refrain from such actions that undermine international peace and stability.”

“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and stability,” a strongly worded MEA release on the issue said adding that “they have also adversely impacted India’s national security.”

“India also urges the international community to work together to hold accountable all those parties that have supported these programmes,” the MEA release further added.

North Korea successfully test fired its first ever ICBM, that can also carry nuclear warheads, on July 4 which, according to experts, is a new type unlike the previous North Korean missile tests and with a range of over 8000 Kms, can easily reach the American mainland. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un taunted that the successful ICBM launch was a gift to America on its Independence Day that also falls on July 4.

Yesterday, Enna Park, South Korea’s Ambassador for Public Diplomacy who, had requested India to become a party of the global effort to deal with North Korea. Enna Park is in India as special representative of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korea’s ICBM has left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft when it put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.

Trump who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, reacted strongly saying US was drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response. The US, with South Korea, held military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

While the major world powers are a divided lot on what stand they should take against North Korea after its nuclear capable Inter Continental Ballistic Missile test launch yesterday, the Korean peninsula nation has gone a step further and has issued a grave threat against South Korea and the US, in an apparent attack over the joint US-South Korea military drills in the Korean peninsula region.

Timing its first ICBM launch event with the American Independence Day on July 4 and the 45th anniversary of the July 4 statement, the first official communiqué on agreement between North Korea and South Korea on Korean reunification, North Korea has warned against “submitting and kowtowing” to the US.

According to a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) release, North Korea has warned that “the US puppet warmongers inside and outside who are bringing escalated tension and crisis of a nuclear war to the Korean peninsula through reckless military actions, in defiance of the fundamental principle of peaceful reunification should be dealt with heavy blows and should be wiped out of this sacred land.”

According to the release available on media aggregators on North Korea, the South Korean regime, pushed by its candlelight demonstrators and subservient to the US, is abusing power and North Korea, out of its “heavy responsibility for the destiny of the nation”, will never tolerate such traitors. The release says that the South Korean authorities should not run amuck else there will be catastrophic consequences as North Korea is fully prepared, “including the ability to mount precision strikes to target even the eyes of all sorts of enemies, after putting in place the deterrence for showering the US with bullets and shells of justice any moment.”

South Korea and North Korea had issued a joint statement on 4 July 1972 on future roadmap for the Korean reunification. Central to the agreement were the clauses that said the reunification was to be achieved internally and peacefully, without use of force and reliance on external actors. But after North Korea started pursuing its nuclear and missile programme, South Korea started dithering from it. What followed was decades of highs and lows on the Korean reunification front with changing regimes and thus approaches in South Korea, irrespective of the prevailing public sentiment that was increasingly becoming hostile to North Korea after years of unilateral efforts by South Korea while North Korea remained glued with the 1972 position that served its purpose.

While China and Russia issued a joint statement yesterday calling for restraint from all stakeholders, its duplicity was clear from the fact that while asking North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programme, it also asked the US and South Korea to stop their military drills in the region, an annual feature for many years, instead of taking a tough approach on North Korea’s increasingly aggressive posturing. That the joint statement also called the US to remove its ballistic missile defence system THAAD from the Korean peninsula also reaffirms the vested Chinese designs here. China terms THAAD deployment in its backyard a security threat and breach of its sovereignty.

The US, which performed a joint military drill with South Korea in response to the North Korean missile launch, confirmed that it was indeed an ICBM and according to independent experts, it was surprisingly successful. According to the claims made by North Korea, the missile reached to an altitude of over 2800 Kms and met all targets of the launch event. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un taunted that the successful ICBM launch was a gift to America on its Independence Day. Experts say that the altitude touched by the nuclear capable North Korean ICBM makes for a range of over 8000 Kms and therefore the missile can effectively reach to many parts of the American mainland.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on June 29 and 30. It is the first bilateral summit between two close allies after both countries got new presidents. Trump took oath in January while Moon was elected only last month after mid-term polls necessitated by the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The meeting is expected to be eclipsed by three issues, North Korea, China and the deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea.

If the Trump administration had termed the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to America in April historic, the expectation that China will exert its influence to rein in North Korea was one of the major factors apart from some trade deals signed that Trump said would help American businesses and would create jobs. China is the only big market for North Korea and it accounts for over two-thirds of total North Korean trade.

But that expectation has become frustration in just two months. Donald Trump has realized that China will not help in reining in North Korea which reflected in his tweet last week, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” But what belies this line that “he knows that China at least tried” is the fact* that out of growing frustration over the Chinese inaction on North Korea and bilateral ties, Trump is thinking to take punitive action by imposing tariff on imports like Chinese steel.

North Korea has already conducted almost a dozen missile tests this year and is preparing to conduct another nuclear test aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The threat from the rogue state has reached to new heights under the present dictator Kim Jong-un so much so that the US had to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense system, inviting strong Chinese protests which sees the presence of the system on the Korean peninsula, in its backyard, breach of its sovereignty and a security threat. China has been lashing out at the US and South Korea for it.

And the optics of its deployment has also been a thorny issue for Trump as well as for Moon. While Trump has demanded South Korea pay $1 billion for THAAD deployment, Moon has termed the system which went live last month a total failure of democracy.

While campaigning, Moon who is seen as a liberal having soft approach towards China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, and having a conciliatory tone towards North Korea, had promised to review the THAAD agreement by his predecessor. Moon, in fact, ordered a probe last month after it emerged that four more missile launchers were added to the THAAD system in South Korea. South Korea maintains that the US asked only for land and support infrastructure for THAAD deployment and all other cost was to be borne by the US only.