Korean Peninsula Tensions: Updates & Analysis

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North Korea fired “several cruise missiles” into the Yellow Sea, which separates the peninsula from China, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday. These new shots come in an increasingly tense context in the region.
These firings come three days after those of two ballistic missiles, this time in the Sea of Japan, on the other side of the Korean peninsula. But also two days after threats from Pyongyang, according to which the stopover in South Korea of an American nuclear submarine could “fall under the conditions of use” of its own atomic weapons.

According to Yonhap, who quotes the staff of Seoul, they took place around 4:00 a.m. local time (9:00 p.m. Friday in Switzerland). “South Korean and US intelligence are analyzing the launches,” the news agency added.

On Friday, Seoul retorted by reaffirming that any such attack would mean the “end” of Kim Jong-un’s regime.

In 2022, the North Korean leader described his country’s status as a nuclear power as “irreversible” and called for strengthening its arsenal, particularly in tactical nuclear weapons.

No de-escalation in sight

The latest cruise missile launches come as a US soldier crossed into North Korea on Tuesday from the south and is possibly being held there by authorities, according to the US military.

The soldier, who was serving a prison sentence in South Korea, had to return to the United States to face disciplinary sanctions. North Korea did not hear from him on Thursday.

The South Korean, American and Japanese leaders are also due to meet in August in the United States to strengthen their cooperation in the face of growing threats from Pyongyang. It is also in August that Washington and Seoul must begin their main annual joint military exercises, exercises very badly perceived by North Korea which sees in them rehearsals for an invasion of its territory.

This article is originally published on rts.ch

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