North Korea's missile provocations are escalating and the country's ramped-up activity could indicate it is preparing to make a move on South Korea – a move that aligns with China's desire to rule Taiwan. The East Asian country has fired over 30 ballistic missiles in 2022, surpassing any previous year; and another nuclear test – its first since 2017 – is reported likely in the near future.
Colonel Grant Newsham (USMC-Ret.) tells American Family News that most of the missiles fired from North Korea typically fall short of Japanese maritime territory, landing in the ocean east of the Korean Peninsula. On October 4, however, an intermediate-range ballistic missile flew over Japan for the first time since 2017.
Following recent U.S. and South Korea naval drills, reports suggest Pyongyang's missile launches demonstrate the ability to "hit and wipe out" U.S. and South Korean targets, according to North Korean state media.
Having served as the first Marine Liaison Officer to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during his career, Newsham notes that the launch is part of NoKo's trial-and-error process of missile development. To that end, he says, their missile and rocket capabilities have gradually progressed through the years.
For example, an AP report in May suggested the country is capable of firing a ballistic missile from a submarine – which is "no easy task," according to Newsham.
"Combined with its conventional military forces, North Korea's missile and nuclear arsenals are a genuine threat to the region," he warns. "When the time is right, Kim Jong-un could go on the offensive aiming to take control of the entire Korean Peninsula."
Newsham suspects Kim would strongly consider "making a move" on South Korea when China attempts to gain control of Taiwan.
"This would create massive difficulties from thinly stretched allies, like the U.S. and Japan, which would already find themselves quite busy just trying to defend Taiwan," he contends.
"It makes good military sense to force one's enemies to divide their forces and their attention away from your main effort – which is Taiwan," Newsham concludes.