វាគ្មិនកិត្តិយស៖ Dr. NETH Thida Chanthima អ្នកសិក្សាស្រាវជ្រាវនៃវិទ្យាស្ថានចក្ខុវិស័យអាស៊ី (AVI) អ្នកសម្របសម្រួល៖ លោក ទន់ លីណាសុផាឬទ្ធិ
Question 1: On October 4th 2022 North Korea just launched an intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) across Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time in five years, which is a grave concern and a careless act for the security as well as peace for East Asia and the shooting through Japan does not seem to have been an unintentional shooting as most analyst observed. Do you see it as a deliberate act by North Korea? And if so, what is the strategic reason for North Korea in doing so?
In my opinion, it is a deliberate act by North Korea. In my opinion, there could be three strategic reasons behind the recent round of missile tests.
First, North Korea must have wanted to showcase the advancement of these weapons arsenal and its combat readiness being as the intermediate range ballistic missile has the capability to reach the farthest distance in comparison to its other missiles. During this test, this missile was able to fly over 4,500 km east of Japan and has demonstrated the capacity to reach the US’s island of Guam.
Secondly, according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA, Kim Jong Un stated that “the recent missile tests are meant to deliver a strong message of war deterrence. Furthermore, he stated that “the effectiveness and practical combat capability of our nuclear combat force were fully demonstrated at the stands, completely ready to hit and destroy targets at any time from any location. Even though the enemy continued to talk about dialogues and negotiation. We do not have anything to talk about, nor do we feel the need to do so.” that was a direct quote from Kim Jong Un. This of course, could be the Strategic response to the trilateral series of anti-submarine exercises, between the US, Japan, and South Korea, which has resumed for the first time in five years. The trilateral exercises also see the deployment of the USS. Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier into the region.
Thirdly, Kim Jong Un might also be taking advantage of the US and its allies are being occupied with Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear war and Xi Jinping’s military drills in the Taiwan Strait to further advance its weapons capabilities, and ultimately to cement its status as a nuclear weapons state.
Question 2: This missile launch is considered a threat to Japan’s sovereignty as well as the security and peace in the region and also a concern to Japan. So, what has been Japan’s reaction to this threat?
The missiles immediately prompted Japan to issue a rarely seek shelter for its citizens. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned this missile test as what he referred to a barbaric act and that it threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region as well as the international community. While Tokyo did not shoot the missile down, it had not ruled out any options yet including the possibility of counter-attacks. After the missile test, Prime Minister Kishida also spoke to President Biden to discuss their next steps and agreed to coordinate responses immediately which consisted of F35 Fights among the two allies in the sea between Korea and Japan. They also agreed to work on a long-term response together as well with South Korea and the international community. And together, they also vowed to work to limit North Korea’s ability to support its unlawful ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction program.
Question 3: We see that it is not the only threat to Japan plus it is also a threat to the security and peace of the region and beyond. On the other hand, the North Korea missile test is not new nor it is a surprise to the international community. However, allowing North Korea to pursue its own nuclear activities is self-serving for North Korea. It is having a serious impact on other countries’ capability to use a nuclear weapon indefinitely such as Russia in the current situation. If we keep indulging North Korea, to continue its activity in nuclear launching and development, what could be the consequences for world peace and security?
Of course, this would continuously put the Korean Peninsula region and the entire international community’s peace and stability on edge. But on the other hand, any proactive action taken by, let’s say the US and its allies, could also be dangerous since Kim Jong Un could use it as an excuse to launch an actual attack. This is the ultimate goal of North Korea’s publicized weapon launches and testing. It is to show the world that they are combat-ready at any time and unfortunately, as a result of this, we are in a stalemate. In my opinion, the only two actors that could possibly steer Kim Jong Un toward peaceful dialogues would be Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping seeing as how China and Russia the two superpowers that are most friendly with North Korea, especially China, seeing as it is, North Korea’s biggest trading partner. China arguably has the most leverage on Kim Jong Un’s regime. If these two states were to stop shielding North Korea from harsh international sanctions and were to withhold assistance in exchange for negotiations to stop the missile and nuclear test. There is a possibility that North Korea would concede. But of course, I understand that this sounds very simple in words. And in reality, there are many more factors involved in the equation to make matters worse, seeing as how the US-China rivalry has reached an all-time high and the tension between Russia and the US, especially with Ukraine. China and Russia are unlikely to pursue any policy that could possibly aid the U-S and its allies and are more likely to take advantage of the U.S. having its plates full on all fronts in order to advance their own foreign policy.
Question 4: Back in September, North Korea just issued a new law regarding its nuclear movement and nuclear development. Kim Jung Un said that North Korea will not accept any negotiations on the nuclear weapons anymore. So, in this case, is there any possible way that can find a solution on this crisis and how can the international community together could stop the North Korea on developing its nuclear programme?
At the moment and in the near future that seems unlikely since tensions are high in all regions and especially with North Korea using the excuse of the US military exercises, with Japan and South Korea as an excuse to further advance its weapons capabilities program and nuclear as well. Kim Jong Un has also mentioned that they’re preparing for an invasion of North Korea in the future, that’s the possibility. So, of course, in this climate, Peaceful dialogue is very hard to reach. But of course, again, I refer to the scenario that I mentioned, just now that it’s a possibility, is that China and Russia. The only too likely players that could steer Kim Jong Un into peaceful dialogue. But again, that I understand that it’s a very difficult solution.
Question 5: So, on the other hand, do you think that this issue can be put on the agenda of the upcoming ASEAN Summit? As we can see that, this is the trending issue right now? And how should ASEAN as the mediator on the Korean Peninsula, take a proactive approach on the North Korea nuclear crisis?
In my opinion, of course, the leaders of ASEAN will discuss the escalating situation in the Korean Peninsula. This issue will most likely be included in the chairman statement of the Summit, where all of us in members will stress the importance of peaceful dialogue, among the concerning parties, and they will continue to express their readiness to play a constructive role through the ASEAN Regional Forum as a platform to promote a conducive atmosphere. Although the reason, certain missile launches and testing by North Korea as a worrisome development, in my opinion, the most pressing issues on the upcoming Summit’s agenda are, of course, the situation in Myanmar South, China Sea, US-China rivalry and issue of food and energy security as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Question 6: Do you see any implication that could happen to Cambodian as the ASEAN Chair this year in regard to the Korean Peninsula issue?
As I mentioned the spotlight, yes, it’s definitely on Cambodia as Chair this year of ASEAN but I would say again in my opinion is less likely. The spotlight is because of the recent activities in the Korean Peninsula, but mostly regarding the Myanmar crisis. The spotlight will be, everyone is curious to see if ASEAN would come up with a new peace plan or revise the Five-Point Consensus.