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European Responses to North Korean Missile Tests

September 8, 2017


On July 28th North Korea’s test fire of its second ICBM caused United States President Donald Trump to respond by saying if they endangered the U.S. they would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Both North Korea’s persistent missile development and the United States’ hardline rhetoric has caused ripples with allies within the European Union and across the international community.

In Berlin, anxiety is growing over the rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. “Our main concern,” states German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, “Now that this struggle is escalating…both sides are ramping it up, and this can in fact end in military conflict.”

France’s defense minister, Florence Parly, warned that the missiles could now hit London or other European cities. In a speech to the French military, Parly said “The scenario of an escalation towards a major conflict cannot be discarded, Europe risks being within range of Kim Jong Un’s missiles sooner than expected.”


British Prime Minister Theresa May is urging China to put pressure on North Korea to freeze its nuclear development program, a call to action echoed by the White House.  “The Prime Minister and The President (U.S.) agreed on the key role which China has to play,” a Downing Street spokesman said, “It is important (China) use all the leverage they have to ensure North Korea stops conducting these illegal acts so that we can ensure the security and safety of nations in the region.” The Prime Minister has expressed renewed interest in working with the United States and other international partners to continue to exert economic pressure on the rogue nation.

After North Korea performed its second ICBM test on July 28th, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a new sanctions resolution against North Korea. The sanctions banned the import of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from North Korea. These sanctions did little to deter Kim Jong Un, who pressed on with a slew of missile tests at the end of August. The most recent one, a ballistic missile launched on August 28th, traveled 1700 miles over Japan, landing in the Pacific Ocean. Despite these recent aggressions The U.N. has taken no further action against North Korea.


Last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Japan and told her hosts she was “outraged” by North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile launch. Additionally, The European Union has also come out in clear support of pressure on North Korea. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, issued a statement in which she expressed support for calls for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. She added that the EU would look at an “appropriate response in close consultation with key partners and in line with UN Security Council deliberations.” It is, however, unclear if the EU would commit military forces to the region should tensions deteriorate to the point at which fighting breaks out.



North Korea’s missiles ‘could reach London’ say experts


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