North Korea fires off short-range missiles

North Korea fires off short-range missiles following ‘sleep in peace’ warning from Kim Jong-un’s sister, presenting Joe Biden with another foreign policy challenge

  • The launches came over the weekend
  • They follow a round of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises
  • Dictator’s sister Kim Yo-jong said if the U.S. ‘wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step’
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month called for ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea

North Korea has fired off a series of short-range missiles, presenting President Joe Biden with a foreign policy challenge while the administration is contending with an influx of immigrants at the southern border. 

A senior Biden Administration official confirmed the weekend launches, while describing an inactive state of diplomatic communication.

‘The outreach from us to North Korea can be described, follows over a year, across two administrations now, without active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the U.S. and across two administrations to engage. We do not see the activity that took place this weekend as closing that door,’ the official said on a briefing call with reporters Tuesday. 

The tests, first reported by the Washington Post, followed a new round of joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korean forces,North Korea has long chafed at the joint exercises, which it considers provocative and a threat to invade the hermetic nation.  

In this March 21, 2020, file photo provided by the North Korean government shows a rocket launch at an undisclosed location in North Korea. The DPRK launched short-range missiles over the weekend, the Washington Post reported, following a round of U.S.-South Korean military exercises 

The action comes a week after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister made a series of caustic remarks about the U.S. 

Kim Yo-jong warned the U.S. not to ‘make a stink’ just as U.S. officials were to arrive last week in Seoul.

‘A word of advice to the new administration of the United States that is struggling to spread the smell of gunpowder on our land from across the ocean,’ the influential Km Yo-jong told official state media.

‘If it wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,’ she said. 

Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, issued threatening comments this month about the U.S. 

Kim Yo-jong is an influential advisor to her brother, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

The launch comes as President Joe Biden is contending with domestic and international challenges, including an influx of immigrants and domestic gun violence

President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018

She added: ‘The South Korean government yet again chose the ‘March of War’, the ‘March of Crisis’.’

The Biden administration signaled a shift earlier this month with Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling during a trip to Seoul for a ‘denuclearization of North Korea.’

That was an apparent shift from the Trump administration, which reached a joint statement between President Trump and Kim calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. 

The DPRK has a long history of using missile launches in an effort to try to force negotiations or extract concessions. A series of launches at the start of the Trump administration led Trump to threaten to unleash ‘fire and fury,’ although he ended up holding summit meetings with Kim and boasted of their friendship.

However there was no apparent progress in the final year of the administration following Trump and Kim’s Hanoi summit in 2019.  

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