As delegates continued to gather at the 2016 G20 Summit in China, North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles nearby. South Korean authorities will be looking into the incident, to determine what type of missiles they were, and how long they flew.
The G20 summit is a meeting between 20 world leaders. One of the highlights of this year’s summit was going to be the meeting between Barack Obama and Tayyip Erdogan. This was going to be the first meeting following the fail coup attempt. Among other things, the two heads of state were going to discuss the situation in Syria.
This is the first time China has hosted the G20. And it is the second time the summit takes place in an Asian country. Last year, the meeting took place in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
According to South Korean officials, the missile came from Pyongyang, at around 12 p.m. local time. This is not the first this month that North Korea has caused commotions with its missile tests.
Two weeks prior, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine close to Japan. The missile entered the Japanese air defense identification zone. It was the first time a North Korean missile had come so close to Japan. After the incident, a spokesperson for the North Korea military said the country is ready to retaliate with nuclear weapons if the North Korea sees any sign of aggression against the tests.
North Korea Continues Tests
And at the beginning of the previous month, North Korea launched two mid-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan. One of them exploded on launch, and the other landed in the sea. The two missiles were a sign of protests. The government of North Korea is very displeased with the fact that the US are planning to deploy an antimissile system in nearby South Korea.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is a controversial project not just in North Korea. Residents living in the area where the defense system will be set are worried they will become targets for the North Koreans. And their worries are somewhat justified. The North Korean government has stated that it will launch a nuclear strike if the project goes through.
During the G20 summit, the president of China Xi Jinping has also declared that the Chinese government does not agree with the project.
As such, the situation in the region is quite tense. On the one hand, South Korea and its allies must avoid increasing the tensions between the two Koreas. And since backing down from the project doesn’t seem to be an option, this may be difficult.
On the other hand, the frictions have strengthened Chinese and North Korean relations. Beijing believes that THAAD destined to block Chinese attempts to strengthen their military power. Officials in China worry the system will target their military activities.
South Korean head of state, Park Geun-hye mentioned that she hopes the two countries will be able to continue their diplomatic relations. She believes China and South Korea will be able to strengthen their relationship in the near future.
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