New Threat from North Korea Put Biden on Edge
North Korea has once again defied international sanctions and warnings by testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that it claims can reach any part of the United States. The Hwasong-18, as it is called, is a solid-fuel missile that can be launched more quickly and stealthily than its previous liquid-fuel counterparts. This is a significant breakthrough for the rogue regime and a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the world.
According to North Korean state media, the missile flew at a high altitude of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and landed in the sea off Japan’s east coast after traveling about 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles). The launch triggered an alert on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where residents were urged to take shelter.
The test was widely condemned by the international community, including the United States, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia. Joe Biden called it a “reckless and dangerous act” that violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions and undermined regional peace and security. He vowed to work with allies and partners to “respond appropriately” and “hold North Korea accountable” for its actions.
However, experts doubt that sanctions and diplomacy alone can deter North Korea from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. The regime has shown no signs of willingness to give up its weapons of mass destruction, despite facing severe economic hardship and isolation. On the contrary, it has accelerated its missile development program, conducting more than 100 launches since the start of 2022.
Some analysts suggest that the only way to stop North Korea is to use military force or covert operations to destroy its nuclear facilities and missile sites. Others warn that such actions could trigger a devastating war that could kill millions of people on both sides of the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
The Hwasong-18 test is a wake-up call for the United States and its allies to take North Korea’s nuclear threat seriously and urgently devise a strategy to counter it. The time for appeasement and dialogue is over. The time for action is now.