One new game changer
Pyongyang’s new game changer will force the troika to soon adjust its strategies toward North Korea and the relationship between Russia and North Korea as well.
After two failures, North Korea recently succeeded in launching its first reconnaissance satellite into orbit. Even the US, South Korea, and Japan, whether wanted or not, have had to recognize and accept this fact. They only doubt that North Korea's satellite properly works, and they supposed that Russia provided North Korea with decisive support which facilitated North Korea's recent technological breakthrough. Meanwhile, North Korea claimed to have received the first photo images of the US and South Korea's military bases and warships but without publicly presenting any of them.
|The launch of North Korea's first reconnaissance satellite on Nov 21, 2023. Source: Rodong Sinmun
But the troika consisting of the US, South Korea, and Japan have new reasons to have heavy headaches and deep concerns. The successful third satellite launch was a major advance in North Korea's long-range missiles and satellite program which could prove itself as existentially important for North Korea in the growing confrontation between North Korea and this troika. It is truly a new game changer for North Korea.
Rockets that can bring satellites into space orbit can also be used as military long-range missiles, even capable of transporting nuclear warheads. Only this is enough to imply the strategically immense importance of the recent third satellite launch for North Korea. North Korea openly demonstrated not only its intention but also its practical capability to conquer outer space for its aims whatever they might be. The US, South Korea, and Japan from now must take into account that North Korea has a new very effective weapon and a new front in their confrontation with North Korea. For them, it is already complicated, difficult, and dangerous enough to deal with North Korea's missiles and nuclear program. Facing new security threats and military challenges from North Korea in outer space is certainly not something that they would like to do in their confrontation with North Korea. It must be very bitter for them that North Korea still advances in its nuclear, missiles, and satellite program and in strengthening its military cooperation with Russia even though both are sanctioned by the US and its allies. Their dilemma reveals itself with South Korea's decision to suspend the Comprehensive Military Agreement signed with North Korea in 2018 and with new measures to tighten their multifaceted sanctions against Russia and North Korea.
North Korea's new game changer will force the above-mentioned troika to adjust its strategies toward North Korea and the relationship between Russia and North Korea. Further increasing tension and confrontation between North Korea and the US, South Korea, and Japan is as likely as preprogrammed while any political peaceful settlement remains still not in sight.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.
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