Days after the US, Japan, and South Korea sealed a new three-way security pact at a summit overseen by President Biden at Camp David, North Korea has 'answered' it with a fresh missile test Monday. The US and South Korea have also just kicked off yet another 10-day joint drill.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in a new report featured photos of leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the site of launches of strategic cruise missiles fired from a patrol ship off North Korea's east coast.
Kim was aboard the vessel and "highly praised the ship for maintaining high mobility and mighty striking power and constant preparedness for combat to cope with sudden situation," according to KCNA.
The statement underscored that the missile test demonstrated North Korea's naval capabilities in "carrying out the attack mission in actual war."
The precise date for the new test wasn't disclosed, but it may have happened concurrently to or just after the Biden-hosted trilateral Friday summit involving President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan.
Biden had hailed the summit as "a big deal" and a "historic meeting". President Kishida had also remarked that "we are indeed making a new history as of today."
According to a New York Times summary of the communique issued after Friday:
The leaders agreed to establish a three-way hotline for crisis communications, enhance ballistic missile cooperation and expand joint military exercises. They issued a written "commitment to consult" in which they resolved "to coordinate our responses to regional challenges, provocations, and threats affecting our collective interests and security."
While Pyongyang sees this as yet more Washington encroachment in the Southeast Asia region, China too has been alarmed and watching closely, particularly amid greater US-Japan cooperation. Beijing has been in the process of deepening ties with Moscow, and has more frequently patrolled with the Russian navy of late.
This image from the Korean press perfectly captures Biden's vision of his precious trilateral alliance with Japan and South Korea: an aging emperor trailed by his junior partners in order of their rank in the imperial order. pic.twitter.com/OmMtX0kt3g— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) August 18, 2023
The trilateral Camp David meeting had urged the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, calling on the Kim Jong Un regime to "abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs," while condemning its "unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches."