On July 4, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) successfully tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The Hwasong-14 is said to be able to reach at least 4,000 miles — some sources say as far as 6,700 miles — which puts parts of the U.S., in particular Alaska, within its range.
Although U.S. weapons experts and military officials had expressed concerns about the rapid progress of North Korea’s missile program, very few had predicted that the country would develop a working ICBM within Trump’s first year in office. Both the State Department and the Pentagon have confirmed that the Hwasong-14 is an ICBM.
Weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis stated, “It’s an ICBM, not a ‘kind of ICBM’… And there’s no reason to think that this is going to be the maximum range.” North Korea may be well on its way to developing an ICBM capable of targeting any part of the U.S. mainland.
Korean Americans and U.S. peace activists voiced concerns this week about the Trump administration’s reinforcement of the U.S.’ long-standing hostile posture toward North Korea. North Korea’s fast track nuclear and missile development, they say, requires a major shift in U.S.’ policy on North Korea.
ZoominKorea’s Hyun Lee joined Brian Becker on Loud & Clear to give her take on the failure of the Trump administration to go beyond Obama’s policy of “strategic patience”:
I think what this shows is that… Trump’s policy of ‘Maximum Pressure’ is not working. I think it’s time to change [to] the other half of his policy, ‘Maximum Engagement.’ Kim Jong-un said after the ICBM test… unless the U.S. fundamentally abandons its hostile policy and nuclear threat against North Korea… North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles will never be on the table for negotiation.
For the full interview, click here.
As long as the U.S. insists on “maximum pressure” in the form of military threats and economic sanctions, a permanent peace settlement on the Korean peninsula will remain elusive, says Lee. Other Korea experts say North Korea’s missile tests are not only for deterrence but intended to focus attention and a sense of urgency to the need for a permanent peace settlement on the Korean peninsula. Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ spoke with Democracy Now! to speculate what North Korea might want from its standoff with the U.S.:
[North Korea] want[s] to put the pressure on the United States, on the Trump administration, to say, ‘We need to negotiate some kind of peace settlement’ because they feel threatened. And so right now, the most viable proposal that is on the table that has now… [been] backed by both China and Russia — but originally came from the North Koreans in 2015 — [is] to halt the U.S. and South Korean military exercises in exchange for freezing North Korea’s nuclear and long-range missile program. That is the deal that should be seriously considered but the Trump administration is not accepting it.
(Video – Democracy Now!)
The U.S. media continues to portray North Korea as the aggressor and the United States as the defender of peace. But we never hear the other side of the story, says peace activist Bruce Gagnon. The U.S. is quick to condemn other countries for conducting weapons tests, he says, but it also frequently tests long-range missiles. Gagnon joined RT News to discuss who is the real culprit behind recent military conflicts around the globe:
The United States is, without a doubt, the biggest hypocrite in the entire planet, because the U.S. routinely tests intercontinental ballistic missiles, firing them from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California into the Pacific, into Kwajalein Atoll. They routinely test so-called ‘missile defense systems’ that are key elements in U.S. first attack planning. So we have to ask ourselves, in the last fifty years, how many countries has North Korea invaded? Well, the answer of course is zero. But in the last fifty years, how many countries has the United States invaded? How many nations have been destroyed by the United States? And I think the answer is dozens.
(Video – RT)
View additional interviews on the DPRK’s recent ICBM test below:
Trump And Kim Jong-Un Face Off Under Cloud Of Nuclear Weapons on Rising up with Sonali. Featuring Tim Shorrock.
N. Korea now has capacity to target heart of US Pacific Command on RT. Featuring Hyun Lee
As Tensions Rise on Korean Peninsula, Newly-Elected South Korean President Seeks Diplomatic Thaw with the North on Between the Lines. Featuring Tim Shorrock.
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