North Korea using missile test as 'cry for attention' says expert
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North Korea has teased international tensions after Kim Jong Un persisted with military testing including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US. In response, America deployed bombers and fighter jets in a series of joint aerial drills with the South Korean air force. US military experts have suggested the North Korean launch was designed to deliberately antagonise America. This drastic strategy has arisen after the historically turbulent international relations of North Korea became sidelined in the media amid a slew of other global disputes.
Charley Cooper, a former US government military advisor told Sky News: “It does seem, for those of us who pay a lot of attention to North Korea, that this is a bit of a cry for attention.
“In the last couple of months, they have been pushed out of the headlines, replaced by China-Taiwan tensions, the uprisings in Iran, the Ukrainian war, which has been going on now since March.
“North Korea hasn’t gotten the attention that it has as a bit of a toddler in the international community.
“They are striving for people to pay attention and hopefully get some sort of sanctions relief that could give them leverage in negotiations with the United Nations.”
He added: “It’s not clear that it will work this time, because it hasn’t in the past.”
Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of the ballistic missile on Friday, alongside his daughter who had been shielded from the public glare in the past.
The system was capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and could have reached any part of the US mainland.
The Korean Central News Agency reported the missile travelled at an altitude of six kilometres for close to 1,000km before landing in a “preset area in open waters” along the east coast.
KNCA added: “Encouraging the successful test-fire, Kim Jong Un said he came to confirm once again that the nuclear forces of the DPRK have secured another reliable and maximum capacity to contain any nuclear threat.”
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Asked if the missile launch was a “high stakes” plot to draw international attention, Mr Cooper said: “It’s not really known what their thinking is and it’s not clear how the North Koreans would actually get attention otherwise.”
He continued: “They have a very crippled economy, much of their state lives near prison camps or in prison camps themselves. They are isolated from the international community and have been for decades.
“The military power that they want and that they have been building over that period of time is really the only way they have of getting any attention.
“Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve [increased] the number of missiles they have launched something like 10, 20 fold over anything they have done in past years. This is certainly more extreme than it has been in the past.”
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Mr Cooper declared North Korea had been “flouting” international regulation for “as long as we can remember”, particularly in regards to missile testing and nuclear programmes.
North Korean media has described the missile launch as “the most powerful and absolute nuclear deterrence”.
The US Department of Defence has asserted that officials are working closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan in response to the latest escalation of North Korean military exercises.
The Pentagon told Al Jazeera: “While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, or territory, or to our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation.
“The US commitments to the defence of the ROK and Japan remain ironclad.”
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