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North Korean Launch Puzzles the Global Norms Advocates

North Korea has amazed the world again yet again with the launch of its ground based ballistic missiles. The country continues to follow its trend of negligence of global norms. On 25th March 2021, KCNA, the state news agency reported that the Academy of Defence Sciences of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) test- fired two new type of tactical guided projectiles. 

Ri Pyong Chol, the member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau gave a statement immediately after the test describing it as a successful one. He also said that the launch was a step towards increasing the country’s military might and was also a deterrent against the military threats to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is banned from testing any missiles by the United Nations.   

As a response to the event, US President Joe Biden called North Korea a “top priority” in his foreign policy decisions. He clearly talked of responding strongly in case there was escalation however he communicated his intention to still consider diplomatic challenges “conditioned upon the end result of denuclearisation”. US, Japan and South Korea condemned the tests. But the North Korean attitude seems oblivious to any possible international reactions.

Ri Pyong Chol described American President Biden’s statement as an encroachment of the state’s right of self defence. According to him, the US President’s illustration of the launch as a violation of the UN resolutions was a clear indication of its hostility towards DPRK.

North Korea has time and again ignored the global norms and measures of their impositions. The test on 26th March was an instance of similar belief system. North Korea justifies its decisions by calling them necessary for survival in a hostile environment. This time too, the state news agency KCNA published a report calling the Biden administration full of bellicose spirit against DPRK. The article ended with a resolve to increase the overwhelming military power of the country. 

Pyongyang remains a test for the international order and the laws that the states have established together. Time and again, it questions their authenticity and has never shied away from clearly stating its disregard for any  enveloping norms. A resolution of North Korea’s non-observance is much awaited by President Biden and others. President Biden has followed a different approach from the former US President Trump. He re-stated his belief in diplomacy but the prospects seem fickle. However, it is too soon to judge the success especially with the Chinese angle in focus. Reuters reported the blooming relationship between North Korea and China due to the international antagonism that exists against both.  Deterrence against Pyongyang are likely to fail with the Chinese support morally as well as through illicit trade. This tricky situation requires strong but rational solutions. There is much hope from US President Biden as the world waits and watches eagerly.