North Korea-South Korea Current Affairs - 2019
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Defying calls to halt its weapons programme, North Korea has yet again test fired a ballistic missile that flew for 30 minutes before dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan, only 97 km from south of Russia’s Vladivostok region. The missile has invited calls for implementation of stronger sanctions against North Korea. The missile flew 700 km and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km before landing into the sea. The missile is considered to have a range higher than an intermediate-range missile that North Korea successfully tested in February this year. An intercontinental ballistic missile has a range of more than 6,000 km.
Chronology of North Korea’s Missile Development Programme
Late 1970s: North Korea begins working on a version of the Soviet Scud-B having a range of 300 km. The missile was test fired in 1984.
1999: In order to improve its ties with US, North Korea declares moratorium on long-range missile tests.
2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks ended without reaching any significant agreement as US rejects North Korea’s demand of being paid $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports.
2005: North Korea ends moratorium on long-range missile tests.
2006: North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test
2009: North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test.
2012: North Korea successfully placed an Earth observational satellite in orbit.
2013: North Korea Conducted its third underground nuclear test
January 2016: North conducted its fourth underground nuclear test. It claimed that test involved a hydrogen bomb, a claim which is doubted by many experts.
March 2016: North Korea claimed that it has successfully miniaturised a thermo-nuclear warhead.
April 2016: North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile
September 2016: North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test
October 2016: North Korea test fired an intermediate-range Musudan missile which is theoretically capable of reaching US bases on Guam. The test was considered as a failure after the missile exploded shortly after its launch.
March 2017: North Korea tested a new rocket engine
April 2017: North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan which was an extended-range Scud missile. It also staged few more failed missile tests in April.
May 2, 2017: THAAD anti-missile system becomes operational in South Korea
May 14, 2017: North test fired a ballistic missile. The missile flew 700 km and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan.
Moon Jae-in has been declared winner in South Korea’s presidential election by that country’s National Election Commission. Moon, the Democratic Party’s candidate has won with 41.08% of votes. Moon will replace the ousted President Park Geun-hye, who was ejected from office in March after a corruption scandal for which she’s awaiting trial. Moon narrowly lost to Park in 2012 election. Park was South Korea’s first female President who has been impeached in a corruption scandal.
Moon is a 64 year old former human rights lawyer and a liberal who favors a more open policy toward North Korea. He is likely to overhaul South Korea’s policy on North Korea. Unlike his predecessors, Moon favors engagement with North Korea and has challenged the deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea. Moon is a strong proponent of the “Sunshine Policy”, which aimed to improve relations between the two Koreas from 1998 to 2008.
Moon was the son of refugees who fled North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. In 1975, Moon was jailed for staging anti-government protests . Later, he became a human rights lawyer and defended the rights of poor laborers and student activists. In 1972, Moon became a part of a pro-democracy movement to topple the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee. Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea for 18 years. He was the father of recently ousted President Park Geun-hye.