North Korea-US tension flares up: Kim Jong Un fires ballistic missiles as US submarine arrives in South Korea
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into its East Sea, South Korea’s military said on Tuesday, adding to the latest in a series of weapons tests apparently in defiance of the US sending large naval assets to South Korea in a show of force. In its third round of launches since last week, North Korea fired a series of missiles from an area near its capital Pyongyang at around 11:55 p.m. local time Monday and until midnight, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
They did not immediately say how far the weapons went. Japan’s coast guard said the missiles were believed to have already landed but still urged ships in the affected areas to be careful of falling debris.
The launch came hours after South Korea’s navy said a nuclear-powered US submarine – the USS Annapolis – arrived at a port on Jeju Island. This underscored the Allies’ efforts to increase the visibility of US strategic assets in the region to intimidate the North.
Last week, the North also reacted to the entry of US Navy ships
Last week, the USS Kentucky became the first US nuclear-armed submarine to visit South Korea since the 1980s. North Korea reacted last week by testing ballistic and cruise missiles after it appeared it could launch nuclear strikes against South Korea and deploy US naval vessels. Also on Monday, the U.S.-led U.N. command said it had begun “dialogue” with North Korea about a U.S. soldier who fled north across one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders last week.
Andrew Harrison, a British lieutenant general who is deputy commander of the United Nations Command, declined to say when the talks began and whether North Korea responded constructively, citing the sensitivity of the talks.
He also declined to say what the command knew about Pvt. Travis King’s condition “None of us know where this is going to end up,” Harrison said during a news conference in Seoul. “I’m an optimist in life, and I’m optimistic. But again, I’ll leave it up to him. It wasn’t immediately clear if Harrison’s comments last week after the command confirmed its initial approach, citing meaningful progress, said it was “working” with its North Korean counterpart to resolve the incident.
The United Nations Command, which was created to fight the Korean War, has remained in South Korea to monitor the implementation of the 1953 armistice that halted fighting in the conflict.
Release other complexes after the Travis King case
Harrison said this contact was through “Moncanism” established under the armistice. This may refer to the so-called Pink Phone, a telephone line between the command and the North Korean People’s Army in the border conflict village of Panmunjom, where King crossed over.
The Koreas are still technically at war because a peace treaty was never signed. The US, which fought alongside South Korea and other allies during the war, never established diplomatic relations with the North, but the line is a common way for them to communicate. North Korea has remained publicly silent on King, who crossed the border during a visit to Panmunjom on his way to Fort Bliss, Texas, after being released from a South Korean prison accused of the attack.
US officials have expressed concern about his well-being and previously said North Korea had ignored requests for information about him. Analysts say North Korea could wait weeks or months to provide meaningful information about King in order to maximize leverage and immediately boost U.S. efforts to secure his release. Some say North Korea may try to extract concessions from Washington, such as tying its release to the United States and reducing its military activities with South Korea.
(with agency inputs)
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