North, South Korea test missiles, raising tensions

North and South Korea have conducted a series of missile tests over the past two weeks, raising tension in the East Asia region. The US and its allies rebuked North Korea, but remained silent regarding South Korea’s missile launches. Analysts suggest such a double standard will only encourage Pyongyang to continue weapons development.

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles from a railway Wednesday. Hours later South Korea conducted its own submarine launched ballistic missile test, raising tension in the East Asian region. The US singled out only North Korea’s provocative behavior.

North Korea remains under United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, which prevent the country from conducting international trade, and inhibits North Koreans access to food, medicine and other goods available in most countries. Analysts argue North Korea is being treated unfairly.

The US has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, with Seoul purchasing the latest American missiles, jet fighters and other weapons in a regional arms race.

The missile tests by North and South Korea over the past couple of weeks are unprecedented in recent times. And security experts warn because of the close proximity of probable targets and the potential destructive power of the bombs likely to be deployed, the time to respond to a perceived threat decreases, and the risk of miscalculation that could lead to a broader conflict, grows.

Still there is hope the US and North Korea may be encouraged to engage in dialogue. China this week lobbied for negotiations with its foreign minister Wang Yi visiting Japan and South Korea for talks.

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