Analyst says US policy proving to be mistake

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The U.S. decision to focus on engagement with North Korea appears to have been a mistake, a senior fellow at a Washington-based think tank said after the reclusive state conducted four missile tests in a month.

U.S. President Joe Biden “chose engagement only,” said Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “That was his policy in 2021. He didn’t even sanction any of North Korea’s nuclear missile programs at all in 2021.”

“It’s turning out now to be a mistake, because as you said the fourth missile test today. And I’m sure there’ll be more, as you noted, we’re not even halfway through January,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.

State news agency KCNA reported that two tactical guided missiles were fired on Monday, adding that they “precisely hit an island target in the East Sea of Korea.”

“The Academy of Defence Science confirmed the accuracy, security and efficiency of the operation of the weapon system under production,” KCNA said.

The presidential office in South Korea said North Korea’s repeated firing of missiles was an “extremely regrettable situation.”

Japan’s ministry of defense estimated that the missiles landed outside its exclusive economic zone, and strongly condemned the launches, NBC News reported.

‘Atrophy’ of sanctions on North Korea

North Korea is trying to lay a trap for the Biden administration.

Leif-Eric Easley

Professor at Ewha University

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, on Friday said North Korea should be offered humanitarian assistance once it is willing to re-engage, but its threats should not be rewarded with international recognition or sanctions relief.

“North Korea is trying to lay a trap for the Biden administration. It has queued up missiles that it wants to test anyway and is responding to U.S. pressure with additional provocations in an effort to extort concessions,” he said in an email after North Korea’s third launch this month.

Calling North Korea’s ‘bluff’

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