Shooting, military exercises, the shadow of Russia… Why is the tension on the Korean peninsula a cause for concern?

In recent days, North Korea has launched an unprecedented series of fires towards the waters of its southern neighbor and Japan. So much so that these regions were in a state of high readiness. The tension is particularly worrisome at a time when the Americans and South Koreans are conducting joint military exercises and the global geopolitical situation appears highly volatile.

North Korea’s ballistic missile launch has failed far from South Korean and Japanese waters, prompting belligerent statements and international condemnation of Pyongyang on the other. At first glance, the tension that has rocked the Far East in recent days seems almost routine. Indeed, the endless efforts of the North Korean dictatorship have resulted in accustoming world opinion to a form of indifference in the face of these short-term fevers.

But this is completely different. Because as the aggressiveness of Kim Jong Un’s communist regime increases, so does the anger of its neighbors and the Americans. Worse, the global geopolitical situation in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war is exacerbating this already harmful climate. is running an account of this singular crisis this Thursday.

The threat has never been so close in 70 years

23 shots. This is the number of ballistic missile launches North Korea has carried out in the direction of waves bordering South Korea, and even then it is a minimum estimate. Above all, the danger is getting closer.

Indeed, one of these shots grazed the South Korean island of Ulleungdo, prompting an air raid warning there. The president of South Korea expressed his anger very clearly in his statement.

“North Korea’s provocation is actually a territorial invasion.

The head of state said that “for the first time” the missile crossed the “northern border line of the division”.

The division has been recorded since 1953, and the conclusion of a treaty officially ending hostilities between the North (Communist) and the South (Pro-American), opened by the invasion of the former by the latter. Since then, the two sides of the peninsula have looked at each other like lapdogs on either side of the 38th parallel, the border separating their respective maritime zones. Therefore, North Korea is accused of crossing the border this Wednesday.

Without confirming this violation, the South Korean military also touched on the 70-year conflict and declared that the missile adjacent to Ulleungdo Island was the closest shot to the national territorial waters since 1953.

He beats the race

Apart from this closeness, the excitement it conveys is remarkable. “North Korea tested almost as many ballistic missiles in one day between 1994 and 2011 as it did during Kim Jong Il’s entire rule,” said Antoine Bondaz, a Korea researcher at the Foundation for Research. Parisian after wednesday.

According to daily estimates, North Korea has launched 44 missiles in 2022 alone, which is significantly more than in previous years. As noted by Agence France Presse, a hundred artillery rounds should be added around the naval division.

Obviously, such fireworks could not go unanswered. Also, Seoul responded by firing three surface-to-air missiles at the same area.

“Reader Storm” in Troubled Waters

The explosive exchange is particularly sensitive as it comes in the midst of joint South Korean and American air force maneuvers. They are currently operating.”Vigilant Storm“Hundreds of planes are participating for each of the two countries.

It is simply the most important joint effort in the history of the two nations. A “watchful storm” that North Korea considers a “provocation” that justifies its actions.

Japan is in the foreground

It doesn’t become a foil duel between Koreas, with more and more stakeholders – less and less points.

So Japan is at the forefront of this secret conflict. North Korea fired three ballistic missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, toward the Sea of ​​Japan and the Japanese archipelago before midnight on Tuesday night for France. This prompted Japanese television to broadcast warning messages, while the state briefly suspended train services.

It must be said that if these missiles were damaged in the Sea of ​​Japan, the empire believed that they would fly over its territory for a while. If not this time, a North Korean missile was well-profiled over Japanese soil on October 4, the first in five years.

Echoes of the war in Ukraine

North Korea’s condemnation of South Korea is common, from Japan, where Prime Minister Fulio Kishida spoke of “intolerable anger,” to Emmanuel Macron’s France, which criticized Pyongyang’s “new unacceptable provocations” on Wednesday.

America’s latest comments are unlikely to calm international concerns. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday accused North Korea of ​​”covertly aiding Russia’s war against Ukraine.” In this case, Washington is ensuring that North Korea delivers many missiles to Moscow while trying to persuade it to import from Africa and the Middle East.

Towards a new nuclear test?

One would think that, barring the outbreak of open conflict, the escalation had peaked. However, one step remains: The United States, South Korea, and the International Atomic Energy Agency all fear that Kim Jong-un and his family will conduct another nuclear test, resuming the topic that was interrupted in 2017.

This would be the seventh experiment of this nature for the totalitarian state. What further expands his power of anxiety and increases the nervousness around him.

Robin Werner BFMTV journalist

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