North Korea launched two more "projectiles" into the Sea of Japan on Monday and this is not a broken record. This was the fifth and sixth launches in the last three days putting Pyongyang back in full belligerence mode after a brief period of calm. South Korea's Yonhap News says the latest projectile is believed to be a small surface-to-surface missile, but military officials are still trying to determine exactly what was used. All six launches have been short-range projectiles fired from North Korea's east coast before falling into the sea.
The North, as you might expect, is treating this as no big deal, claiming it's just routine military training, while at the same time blaming the South for provoking them. A statement from Pyongyang's news agency called Seoul's reaction "a whole string of vituperation grumbling" and says, "Their description of the drills as a factor of escalating the tension on the peninsula and in the region reminds one of a thief crying 'Stop the thief!'"
Previous provocations of this sort have usually led to negotiations and eventually some sort of bargain — like more food aid or a currency exchange — but South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye, has insisted that won't happen this time. The North's actions so far have been annoying, but relatively harmless. Now we'll have to wait and see if she can hold out and actually break the cycle or if the North will decided to escalate, and keeping pushing harder until they get whatever it is they want.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.