by WorldTribune Staff, July 27, 2017
Through his continued belligerent acts, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hopes to generate discord among and between the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia and Japan, the commander of U.S. forces in Korea said.
Kim’s actions “intend to sow friction and fissures among the five in order to prevent them from coming together as a cohesive block,” U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Vincent K. Brooks said on July 27.
Related: Report details China’s extensive military preparations along 880-mile border with N. Korea, July 27, 2017
The five nations are involved in the now-suspended denuclearization talks with Pyongyang.
North Korea test-fired 28 ballistic missiles in 2016 alone, followed by 10 other missile tests this year, including what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Kim is “trying to prevent the creation of a closed fist against him,” Brooks said, adding that missile tests by Pyongyang have become “the new normal.”
Yonhap reported on July 27 that the Kim Jong-Un regime was preparing for another missile launch in the coming days. A new missile launch by North Korea was reported today.
Brooks also stressed the importance of deterrence.
“Deterrence aims to cause adversaries to reconsider their resolve to accept whatever consequences might emerge from their actions and to choose something less than having an adversary try to break their will – in other words, bringing an adversary to his senses,” he said.
Brooks lauded South Korea’s efforts to improve its own defense power, which includes the purchase of F-35 stealth jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, more Aegis-equipped warships and the upgrade to Patriot missiles, coupled with the decision to deploy the THAAD missile shield.
South Korea has increased its defense budget to over $34 billion in 2017, 2.6 percent of its gross domestic product. The Moon Jae-In administration stated that it would raise the ratio to 2.9 percent within the next five years.
“These capabilities invested in by the Republic of Korea will add to the ongoing efforts to reduce North Korea’s ability to hold the Republic of Korea and the U.S. forces present at risk,” Brooks said.