Dear Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, wanted to welcome the nuclear-powered USS Annapolis submarine to Jeju Island. With a flip of the switch on the evening of July 25th, the missiles reportedly flew 248 miles before they crashed into the waters off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula.
In response to this latest launch, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida launched a protest against the nation, which was filed via their embassy in Beijing. In addition, they would be increasing their surveillance as well as increasing their commitment to trilateral cooperation with the US and South Korea. Falling just outside the nation’s exclusive economic zone, there was a lot for the Japanese to be concerned with.
Just a week prior, the nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Kentucky, made history as the first nuclear-armed submarine to visit South Korea since the 1980s. This submarine received its own welcoming wagon- this came with cruise and ballistic missiles. A show of force that they “could” hit US ships is always an interesting and provocative decision.
North Korea has been incredibly anxious as of late. While they are dramatically increasing their rate of test firing, they aren’t getting the kind of data that shows significant or true improvement in their programs. Instead, it appears that they are simply wasting more of the country’s resources on chasing a pipe dream while people suffer and die in poverty.
With their latest acquisition of PVT Travis King, who crossed over the DMZ into North Korea on 18 July, the North Koreans have only acknowledged they received a message from the UN about King but have not responded to him. So far, many wonder how they plan to use him. In the past, some have been used simply as propaganda puppets, and others have been sentenced to hard labor.
King himself is an anomaly for North Korea. As the first military defector since the 1960s, he has the potential to provide a lot to the hermit nation despite his low rank. From propaganda films to their ‘legitimate’ film productions, he could be huge in the country. Given the love and adoration Denis Rodman received, King could find his way into a similar situation.
As a whole, these incidents paint a very grim picture of North Korea. The tiny hermit nation has been unable to achieve the excellence or success the Kim dynasty promised as they took over following the Korean War. Instead, they keep producing propaganda about the strength of the people of North Korea, the humility, strength, and wisdom of the Kim family, and how right North Korea is.
These missile and rocket launches are filmed and used frequently for propaganda films, so Kim deciding to launch more as these submarines arrive could mean even more propaganda is on the way. Combined with their tight lips about King and his status, there is a lot to be concerned about. Many fear that King’s decision to cross could inadvertently trigger an armed conflict.
As this YouTube clip shows, this latest launch is the most concerning.