North Korea may fire another missile this week     DATE: 2024-07-25 12:40:43

Trump says ‘only one thing will work' for North

By Jun Ji-hye

North Korea may fire another ballistic missile as early as Tuesday when it celebrates the founding anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), as U.S. President Donald Trump hints at military action against the Kim Jong-un regime.

Russian legislators, who visited Pyongyang last week, said the Kim regime plans to test a more powerful missile capable of hitting the West Coast of the United States.

Anton Morozov, a member of the International Affairs Committee in the lower house of Russian parliament, said the delegation met with ranking North Korean government officials, but not military officers, during their visit to Pyongyang from Oct. 2 to 6.

"They told us they're preparing to test a more powerful long-range missile that, in their view, would be able to hit the West Coast of the U.S.," Morozov told Bloomberg.

The politician quoted the North Korean officials as saying they could test the missile soon.

He also told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the North's officials said the regime has secured atmospheric re-entry technology, a key element to completing an operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of traveling more than 10,000 kilometers.

Military authorities from South Korea and the U.S. still cast doubt on whether the North has completed such technology that would grant it the ability to construct a shroud that covers the missile's warhead strong enough to withstand the extreme heat and other challenges involved in re-entering the Earth's atmosphere from space.

The North usually holds big military events or parades ahead of key political events or anniversaries to maximize the impact of its belligerent acts and elicit the allegiance of its people.

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The party's founding anniversary on Oct. 10 is one of the repressive state's biggest political events, so many have forecast the North may conduct another missile test or other types of provocation around the day.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth nuclear test last month and fired two ICBMs in July.

Some analysts speculate the North may fire a new type of ICBM propelled by a solid-fuel engine this time.

Still, others said it is less likely for the North to launch a missile that actually reaches the West Coast of the U.S. because it would result in a full-scale war. They noted the threat would have been designed to lead to negotiations on their terms.

"North Korea may have sent a message to the United States through Russian politicians that it would not wait forever," said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. "This would have been aimed at pressuring Washington."

However, U.S. President Donald Trump once again voiced his strong objection to negotiations with the Kim regime, Saturday.

"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid... hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators," Trump tweeted. "Sorry, but only one thing will work!"

The U.S. president did not clarify what the "one thing" was, with observers construing it as referring to military action.

He also told reporters Thursday after a meeting with military commanders that "maybe it's the calm before the storm."

When asked what the "storm" means, he only said "you'll find out." Analysts presume the "storm" could refer to military action as well.

South Korea's presidential office and the Ministry of National Defense said they are closely watching the possibility of the North's provocations, though they detected no clear signs as of Sunday.

The militaries of South Korea and the U.S. have stepped up their reconnaissance operations and preparedness posture.