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DPRK keen to gauge U.S. response by staging one provocation after another 

  • March 26, 2021
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

All national dailies focused on North Korea’s launches of short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday for the first time in almost a year. The papers surmised that Pyongyang is anxious to gauge how Washington will react to its military activities as the Biden administration finalizes its review of North Korea policy. Asahi said the reclusive regime may have been trying to test the “strategic patience” of the Biden administration, while Sankei noted that Kim Jong Un “threw down the gauntlet” to demand that Washington stop taking a hostile approach.  


The papers projected that the latest provocation was probably directed at a trilateral security meeting scheduled for next week in Washington at which National Security Advisor Sullivan and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts are expected to confirm mutual coordination to realize North Korea’s denuclearization. The dailies observed that the three partners apparently tried not to overreact to yesterday’s launches. However, Mainichi and Sankei expressed concern that the Biden administration may choose to uphold the Trump administration’s approach of not taking issue with North Korea’s missile launches as long as they only involve short-range projectiles. A GOJ source reportedly said: “We want the Biden administration to take a tough stance, including saying that the launches violated a UN Security Council resolution.”  

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