(VitalNews.org) – South Korea has condemned what it calls a “grave provocation” on the part of North Korea after its latest military action. North Korea launched two short-range missiles from its east coast into the sea on Monday night (July 24th). The ballistic missiles came from near its capital, Pyongyang, and traveled nearly 250 miles before coming to a stop in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.
The show of maritime military power appears to be in retaliation for the United States’ continued alliance with South Korea, which has resulted in an increase in U.S. military presence in the region in response to North Korea’s current weapons program. Earlier this year, America promised to regularly redeploy nuclear-armed submarines to the area in an effort to ward off North Korean aggression. It aimed to make its military capabilities more visible, with additional submarines and bombers to be posted in the region.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the North Korean regime has responded to increased American military presence with a series of ballistic missile tests. The U.S. has called North Korea’s actions “destabilizing” but has confirmed that they have not resulted in any threat to American personnel, property, or those of their allies, such as South Korea.
Along with the tactical deployment of missiles and submarines, the United States and North Korea are currently engaged in another diplomatic issue: that of a missing, possibly defected, American soldier. Private Travis King made his way into North Korea while he was on a tour of the region after serving time in a South Korean prison for assault. He was supposed to travel to Fort Bliss, in Texas, but instead made his way across the border into the notoriously insular dictatorship. He has not made contact with his home country since.
The United States says that their requests for updates on the soldier’s well-being have gone unanswered by North Korea, while some analysts say that Pyongyang will use the American soldier as a bargaining chip, perhaps to attempt to reduce American presence in Korean waters.
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