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Why insist on provoking?

Aug 31,2017 - Last updated at Aug 31,2017

North Korea’s latest missile testing is incomprehensible and indeed provocative.

The test firing of an intermediate-range missile over Japan makes no sense except as an affront, not only to the US and its allies, but to the entire international community.

With Guam, the small island in the Western Pacific that is the closest US territory to North Korea and that hosts two important US military installations, threatened by the North Korean leader, US President Donald Trump said the missile test signalled the North Korean regime’s “contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour”, and declared that now “all options are on the table”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who presided over the Tuesday dawn launch of the “ultra-modern rocket system” fired from the capital Pyongyang, to stop provoking Washington.

North Korea has already tested many long- and medium-range missiles with capability of carrying and delivering nuclear charge, so why does it continue firing one missile after another if not to test the patience of its “enemies”? 

Kim has already developed the capability to protect his country from any possible threat, not that any were forthcoming. Continuing to provoke the world, particularly a volatile US president, could trigger a response that puts in mortal danger not only his countrymen, but his neighbours and much of the rest of the world as well. 

Pyongyang might feel it is its legitimate right to develop ballistic missiles or even own a nuclear arsenal to defend itself, but making hostile moves against its neighbours is simply going overboard.

The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, believe “pressure on North Korea should be raised to its limit so that North Korea will voluntarily come to the table for dialogue”, and that the United Nations Security Council should pass more effective sanctions against North Korea, against which a new round of sanctions was unanimously approved by the Security Council earlier this month.

Pyongyang has delivered its message about its military capability; it needs not press this point any further.  

Reason and cool headedness must prevail on all sides to avoid a devastating nuclear conflagration that will spare few.

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