North Korea TEsts Short-Term Missiles – And World’s Patience

North Korea Tests Weapons & The World’s Patience
In defiance of a United Nations ban on weapons tests, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles just days after test firings of three short-range missiles off its east coast.

While North Korea is permitted – and regularly tests – short range multi-rocket launchers, ballistic missiles are a violation because they are seen as contributing to Pyongyang’s long-range missile program.

According to The Japan Times, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters the tests have raised concerns in the region.

“If (the North) keeps firings missiles, it would pose a grave problem for neighboring countries,” he said. Japan’s embassy in Beijing has filed a protest with North Korea through over the tests.

Some view the tests as an effort of North Korea to show its military might before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits South Korea this week in an effort to strengthen ties between the nations.

To Engage Or Not To Engage
While nobody holds out hope that North Korea will be swayed by international law in terms of its development of nuclear weapons, Ramon Pacheco Pardo contends Europeans must strive to balance engagement on an economic level and pursuing separate non-proliferation activities.

Pursuing two tracks would not undermine the European Union’s “normative agenda or support for peace and security” in the region, he says.

“Brussels, therefore, needs to apply a two-pronged strategy to deal with Pyongyang. This strategy ought to marry sufficient pressure to show North Korea that the EU will not tolerate its defiance of the international community, together – and above all – with productive engagement to encourage an honest dialogue as well as further economic reform and opening up,” Pardo posits.

Japan also is pursuing engagement with North Korea, particularly in terms of talks regarding Japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.

US Patience Reaching Its Limits
Some analysts believe the patience of the Obama administration, however, has been stretched too far and perhaps beyond repair.

“The North Korean strategy of forcing others to improve relations has now reached a dead end. So has U.S. strategic patience. With little prospect for a negotiated way out, the security of all of Northeast Asia is in peril,” writes Leon V. Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project.

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