In response to North Korea's latest missile test, the US and South Korea conducted live-fire bombing exercises along the DMZ, making one wonder who's really provoking whom? The Pentagon, as it’s always wont to do, intended for the drills to be a show of force in deterring what they believe to be Pyongyang’s aggression, though North Korea understandably interpreted this as an unprecedented escalation of the crisis intended to intimidate it into concessions. What makes this latest episode even more interesting is that the US conducted the drills under the pretense that North Korea had tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which its Mainstream Media outlets fear mongered could hit Hawaii and Alaska, though Russia and even South Korea both claim for different reasons that this isn’t exactly the case.
Moscow alleges to have evidence that the missile which North Korea just tested is an intermediate range one and not an ICBM, while Seoul came out earlier this week and said that it doesn’t believe that Pyongyang has ICBM re-entry technology. In other words, the US is overhyping the extent of the supposed threat posed by North Korea, possibly in order to justify its controversial THAAD deployment in South Korea. This anti-missile system has become an inseparable part of the Korean Crisis since it’s directly linked to the North’s missile tests, though it’s thought by some to be more directed towards neutralizing Russia and China’s nuclear second-strike capabilities than North Korea’s first-strike ones.
It’s partially because of THAAD that both Eurasian Great Powers suggested a joint course of action in resolving this problem during President Xi’s visit to Moscow last week, proposing that North Korea halt its technology tests in exchange for the US and South Korea freezing their large-scale and provocative military drills. That still doesn’t directly deal with the threat that Moscow and Beijing feel is being posed by THAAD, though it could create the conditions for Seoul’s new pragmatic president to argue that the installations are no longer needed. In any case, an objective overview of the situation leads one to question the Mainstream Media narrative that North Korea is the only provocative actor in Northeast Asia, since there are more than enough grounds to solidly argue that the US is playing a similarly destabilizing role as well.
Haneul Na'avi, contributing writer on political economy and geopolitics for The Duran, and Edwin Chen, Activist focusing on the Asian Holocaust of World War II commented on the issue.
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