CNN has just reported that North Korea has fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea Of Japan. The missiles were fired in the early hours of Monday. It appears the missile launch was supervised by the Korean dictator Kim Jong. The launch has been confirmed by the military of both South Korea and the United States. The missiles had a range of a 1000 km and come in the category of IRBM (intermediate range ballistic missiles.) The surprise is that North Korea fired four of them. It was a belligerent act to show the power of the North. It was also an attempt to intimidate Japan and South Korea.

Both these nations are allied to the USA. The defense of both countries is the responsibility of the US armed forces to some extent. General Mattis, secretary Defense had on a recent visit to the Far East reiterated that America will stand by its allies in East Asia.

Missile launch

Three of the 4 missiles landed inside an area 200 km from the Japanese coast which forms part of Japan's exclusive economic zone. This is as per international maritime law. The Japanese prime minister Shinto Abe in a speech to the Japanse parliament clearly stated that the launch violated the resolutions passed by the Security Council. It appears the security council resolutions have no effect or are ignored by North Korea.

There is a distinct possibility that Korea is surreptitiously backed by China, otherwise, a small nation like Korea cannot launch missiles with such impunity.

Foal Eagle

One of the reasons for this launch is directly related to the annual US-South Korea military drill. This is a joint exercise with the code name " Foal Eagle." The exercise lasts for 30 days and began on 01 March.

The North has already denounced the exercise as a threat to peace. Last year also the North had reacted by firing a number of missiles. It had then announced that it could fit nuclear warheads on their missiles.

Last word

The US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said: "The DPRK's provocations only serve to increase the international community's resolve to counter the DPRK's prohibited weapons of mass destruction programs." Donald Trump has now to decide how to tackle the North. He will have to bear in mind that China is a factor.