In 1990’s when the communist government in North Korea was concerned about its existence, it put severely the development of its military capabilities in its agenda. Although at various junctions, several rounds of fruitless negotiations were held with the U.S. about the crisis in the peninsula, but it is still considered as one of the most heated developments in international system.
Within the recent years and during the tenure of office of President Donald Trump in the U.S., despite three unprecedented meetings between him and Kim Jung Un the leader of North Korea held, as was predictable there was no specific achievement emanated from the meetings.
Pyongyang has conducted several missile tests as of September 2021 and the culmination of the tests was during the first half of January 2022. Within less than two weeks there were three hypersonic missile tests; the first was on January 5, the second was a week later on January 12, 2022.
As was referred to in the reports, the last launched missile experienced 10 Mach speed. But it was not the end of the story. On Friday January 14, 2022 two ballistic missiles were tested by Pyongyang again.
Important points can be mentioned on the evaluation of North Korea missile tests;
First, one of the show off power instruments of North Korea is considered to be its missile tests. Pyongyang has always displayed either its anger from the policy of its enemies by missile tests or boasts others about its increasing military capabilities. For example, in this respect hypersonic missiles place North Korea next to China, Russia and the U.S.
Along with it, with its hypersonic missile tests, North Korea will increase its maneuver power particularly with respect to the capabilities of this type of missile (maneuverability, high speed, and flying at lower levels). Likewise, the policy of diversification of missile capability of Pyongyang will increase the possibility to confront with and overcome the existing defensive missile systems in the region.
Yet, one of the issues worth to mention is that short-range and medium-range missile tests indicate that Pyongyang has concentrated on the regional targets. In this way, while developing its missile capability and finding its weak and strength points, North Korea would instigate less sensitivity of the U.S. In such circumstances however, the country can even boost its long- range missiles, but it has now made the U.S. authorities doubt in adopting crucial decision.
This is an important issue too that such a measure can provide Pyongyang an upper hand in any probable diplomatic talks with Joe Biden Administration. Although the U.S. authorities have so far referred to the issue that they are ready for diplomatic interaction with North Korea but it was Pyongyang that showed no warm welcome. In June, the U.S. Special Representative for DPRK said that he is ready to meet with Pyongyang anywhere, anytime and without any precondition.
Having reviewed the pathology of the U.S. policy on North Korea by Biden Administration, it seems that at least within the past year, there was not too much attention paid to North Korea issue in the U.S. foreign policy. In a situation when the U.S. is engaged in several key issues including Taiwan, Ukraine and or Iran nuclear deal, adding the North Korea nuclear issue will further sophisticate the situation for Washington. This will be also favorable to Russia and China when they are at the highest tension level with the U.S. during the past few decades. The tests can also be conducted with the instigation of Russia and China and or with smartness and understanding of Kim Jung Un about the U.S. involvement at other fronts and in order to take more concessions from the country. However, the tests were accompanied with sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury against the country.
To conclude, it can be said that North Korea missile tests may experience an escalating trend in the coming year. In that case, Biden Administration will be obliged to put the North Korea dossier once again in its agenda and its priority along with other existing dossiers in the U.S. foreign policy.