By James Moules
JOE Biden is unlikely to take any substantial action against North Korea despite their recent missile test, an expert has told Redaction Politics.
North Korea recently conducted its first ballistic missile test since Biden assumed the US presidency, firing two missiles into the Sea of Japan.
The Korean Central News Agency claims that these were a “new-type tactical guided projectile” – while Biden warned that “there will be responses if they choose to escalate.”
Dr Sojin Lim, Co-Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies of the University of Central Lancashire, told Redaction Politics that Biden is unlikely to take any concerted action.
She said: “Biden will not react in any specific way over the missile launch as recent two missile tests are not much significant.
“Those two tests can be either a part of regular technical check up of North Korea or a message from North Korea to the allies of US including South Korea and Japan to remind the existence of North Korea and/or possible military tension by North Korea.
“On top of it, for me, it looks like Kim Jong-un tries to exam Biden’s reaction in order to figure out how he [Kim] can develop his strategy against Biden’s administration.
“At the moment, both Biden and Kim have their priorities at domestic level, rather than at the international level, with the Covid-19 and economic issues.”
The test came following Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong issued a threatening message to the USA, saying: “We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land.
“If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
Kim Yo-jong is widely considered to be one of her brother’s top confidants, and even a potential successor.
But Dr Lim said that Kim Yo-jong’s remarks are likely an act of diplomatic posturing rather than any substantive threat.
“For me, this seems to be a typical response of North Korea. As two Biden’s Secretaries are visiting the region (Japan and South Korea), North Korea intends to show its existence,” she said.
“Currently, it is known that North Korea is not on Biden’s priority list, which can prompt North Korea to either resume nuclear or other missile tests; however, I do not think it will happen in the near future as North Korea knows that Biden also has more important domestic issues to deal with, such as Covid-19 and economic recovery, which Kim Jong-un also faces.”
Dr Lim added: “The division of labour at the international affairs between Kim Yo-jong and Kim Jong-un in a couple of years has been quite clearly divided: a bad cop (Kim Yo-jong) and a good cop (Kim Jong-un). Kim Yo-jong’s recent statement is also not much different from this frame.”
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