Things are tense on the Korean peninsula. The beginning of 2023 set up the tone that North Korea and South Korea are taking for the future of their relations. North Korea's Dictator Kim Jong-un had perhaps the most caricaturish of New Year's celebrations. While the rest of the world blew up firecrackers in the sky, Kim launched a short-range ballistic missile.
This is something we can only imagine Aladeen of the Republic of Wadiya doing; but of course, the real ones are even more ludicrous and dangerous.
What is happening: Pyongyang's missile test on Sunday, January 1, 2023, marked the beginning or end (take your pick) of a record number of weapons tests in 2022.
- South Korea detected a missile launch near the Pyongyang region around 2.50 am on January 1, 2023. Reportedly the missile travelled 400 kms before crashing into the waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula.
- Moreover, Kim Jong-un called for expanding North Korea's nuclear arsenal citing "worrying" moves by the US and its allies.
The prevailing situation calls for making redoubled efforts to overwhelmingly beef up the military muscle ... in response to the worrying military moves by the U.S. and other hostile forces.
- Kim Jong-un (quoted by North Korean media KCNA)
We have declared our resolute will to respond with nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation.
- Kim Jong-un
The drone damage: This latest missile launch on New Year came after three ballistic missile launches by North Korea.
- Tensions soared after North Korean drones breached South Korean airspace on December 26. South Korea responded by sending its own drones into the North Korean airspace.
- However, the drone incident showed Seoul's lack of preparedness. Despite Seoul sending several jets and attack helicopters to track down and shoot five drones from North Korea, all the drones reportedly made their way back into the North Korean territory.
- The pursuit lasted for nearly five hours.
What South Korea is saying? South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol started the New Year by announcing a possible joint military exercise with the US using American nuclear weapons.
The nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but planning, information sharing, exercises, and training should be jointed conducted by South Korea and the United States.
- Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korean President
- Yoon also said that the drone incident showed that the military was "greatly lacking". South Korea's military also apologised for the failure.
- But the incident and North's incessant activities have only pushed South Korea into better preparations.
- Since Yoon Suk-yeol's became South Korea's President and adopted a hardline stance towards Pyongyang, relations between the warring nations have deteriorated more than before.
What is North Korea planning? According to North Korea's new nuclear doctrine discussed in 2022, Pyongyang plans to use its nuclear arsenal not just during a full-blown war or confrontation as the last resort, which is usually the case for other nuclear-armed countries.
You see, in any conventional war, North Korea is unlikely to win a war against superpowers like the US. So, the only strategy to rely on would be to spook the enemy to back off and agree to a ceasefire on its terms.