North Korea has upped the ante through a robust statement articulated by Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of its President, Kim Jong-un. Tuesday’s caveat addressed to the United States of America has been advanced in the midst of the “security talks” being conducted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin with Japan’s minister of foreign affairs Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi.
The overriding anxiety of the United States and Japan and also, of course, South Korea is to condemn what they call China’s “aggression” in the region, most particularly the South China Sea. The North has in point of fact broken its silence after Joe Biden stepped into the White House. Kim Yo-jong’s warning is, therefore, directed at both Washington and Seoul not the least in the context of the US and South Korean joint military exercises under way in South Korea.
The geopolitical diplomatic demarche has warned the Biden administration against undertaking “war games” if it wants to “sleep in peace for the coming four years.”
While the North has been remarkably robust in its response, the US President has thus far stopped short of precipitating the inherent crisis that simmers in the choppy waters of the South China sea. Attitudes are, however, bound to stiffen in the wake of the forthright criticism expressed by Kim Yo-jong. She has said that the authorities in Seoul could face “consequences” for conducting the drills, which began earlier this month.
The annual manoeuvers were scaled down this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and largely involve computer simulations, according to military officials. Yet the matrix of Pyongyang is decidedly confrontationist, when geostrategy warrants peace and goodwill in the region. Blinken has said that the US has recently tried to reach out to Pyongyang but has received no response.
“We’re looking at whether various additional pressure measures can be effective, whether there are diplomatic paths that make sense.” There surely are and both the United States and North Korea must of necessity pursue diplomatic options, most importantly because President Biden is at the threshold of his office.
While threats posed by North Korea are a common concern for both Washington and Tokyo, the increasingly assertive posture of China was the focus of Tuesday’s bilateral security meeting in Tokyo. Defence Secretary Austin has asserted that the US will work together with its long-time ally, Japan, to counter what he called Beijing’s “destabilizing actions” in the region.
“We know that competing in today’s shifting global dynamics can only be done through the spirit of teamwork and cooperation, which are the hallmarks of our alliance with Japan.” Tokyo and Beijing both claim possession of a small chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Beijing is said to have recently altered regulations for its maritime forces that increase the risk of hostilities in the area. The plot thickens in Asia’s maritime belt.