MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. North Korea’s latest missile launches reflect Pyongyang’s desire to demonstrate its power amid the global instability and the East-West standoff, the general director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrey Kortunov, has told TASS in an interview.
According to the expert, the North Korean leadership often draws international attention through this form of behavior, particularly when the North Korean issue is overshadowed by other global events.
"The North Korean leadership wants to draw attention to itself, to its stance, including on issues of security on the Korean Peninsula. A show of power of this type is used when the issue of sanctions on North Korea is raised," he said.
According to the expert, the North Korean missile launches should be considered in the context of a wider international situation, with regard to the ongoing crises around Ukraine and Taiwan, as well as other events that prompt Pyongyang to take tougher and more decisive measures.
"Maybe it is also an attempt to somehow restart talks on reviewing the regime of international sanctions, an attempt to make the global community recognize North Korea’s new status of a nuclear power," he said.
"Since the global politics is becoming polarized, amid the East-West standoff, North Korea may become a part of this standoff, and may turn out to be an ally of Moscow and Beijing, an ally which is more valuable than before," he said. "No wonder that North Korea recognized the legitimacy of referendums on the accession of new regions into Russia simultaneously [with the missile launch]. It also sends a certain signal that ‘we are with you, we are ready to counter the West jointly, we will help you, so help us.’"
Kortunov also said that missile launches could be signaling that North Korea will not stop its nuclear and missile programs despite all pressure from the West.
Signal for Tokyo and Washington
The expert also emphasized that the missile launched by North Korea recently covered a very long distance and flew above the territory of Japan, for the first time in five years.
"This also sends a certain signal to Tokyo, and demonstrates [Pyongyang’s] determination to respond to any provocations that may be committed against North Korea," he said.
The expert noted current changes in Japan’s domestic and foreign policies, including its growing military spending.
"Naturally, Pyongyang is watching those developments with great concern, thinking that a revival of the Japanese militarism may be taking place," he said. "I think that [missile launches] may be a signal that North Korea will find a way to defend itself from any infringement by Tokyo, and to protect its sovereignty."
"Clearly, it is also some sort of a warning that Pyongyang’s stance must be taken into account, particularly with regard to the [Korean] Peninsula’s security issues," the expert added.
In his opinion, North Korea was seeking to draw Washington’s attention as well. In this regard, the expert recalled the summit meetings between then US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"North Korea was in the focus of international attention back then. Moreover, Trump de-facto recognized it as an equal partner in negotiations. I thing Pyongyang is willing to revive the situation when it can discuss security issues directly with Washington, not with Seoul or even Tokyo. If the US agrees, it would be a major victory for North Korea," he added.
However, there were no grounds to believe that the US was currently ready for such a dialogue, Kortunov said.