North Korea Tests 3 Ballistic Missiles, Chinese & Russian Bombers Drill Near Japan Amid Quad Summit
Are you concerned about provocations by China, Russia, and North Korea against the Quad?
What’s the story?
- North Korea test-launched three ballistic missiles on Wednesday when Chinese and Russian strategic bombers also flew near Japan in shows of force that appear to have been aimed at sending a message to a summit held by the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (aka the Quad) that day.
- The Quad includes the U.S., Australia, India, and Japan. President Joe Biden was in attendance at the summit prior to returning to the White House.
North Korean Ballistic Missile Launches
- North Korea’s test launches included an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could potentially reach the U.S. along with two shorter-range ballistic missiles.
- The State Dept. released a statement on behalf of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, which said they “strongly condemn” the ballistic missile launches and added:
“The United States, the ROK, and Japan express deep concern about the May 25 DPRK launches of an intercontinental ballistic missile and shorter-range ballistic missiles. The DPRK has significantly increased the pace and scale of its ballistic missile launches since September 2021. Each of these launches violated multiple UNSC resolutions and posed a grave threat to the region and the international community. We urge the DPRK to abide by its obligations under UNSC resolutions and immediately cease actions that violate international law, escalate tensions, destabilize the region, and endanger the peace and security of all nations.”
- In response to North Korea’s ballistic missile test launches, the U.S. conducted separate bilateral training exercises with Japan and South Korea. American and Japanese aircraft conducted a combined exercise over the Sea of Japan to “deter and counter regional threats” ― while the U.S. Eighth Army and South Korean military personnel conducted a combined live-fire exercise with the Tactical Missile System.
Chinese & Russian Bomber Flights
- Two Chinese and two Russian strategic bombers that are capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew through the Sea of Japan, prompting Japan and South Korea to scramble fighters to intercept in their air defense identification zone (ADIZ), although they didn’t enter Japanese or South Korean airspace. The aircraft were joined by a Russian reconnaissance plane.
- The Chinese and Russian bombers then flew south through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, where two new Chinese bombers replaced their predecessors in formation, before heading out over the Western Pacific and eventually returning along the same flight path.
- Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said his government “communicated through our diplomatic routes our grave concerns” over the China-Russia flight. He said it was the fourth such Chinese-Russian flight since July 2019 and the first since November 2021 and added, “We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past.”
- China’s defense ministry said in a statement the joint patrol with Russia was carried out “in accordance with their annual military cooperation plan”.
What is the ‘Quad’?
- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad) is a strategic security dialogue between the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia. It’s intended to serve as a diplomatic and military check against China’s attempts to use its military and economic clout to exert influence over the Indo-Pacific region, particularly over the East and South China Sea regions in addition to Taiwan.
- To that end, the armed forces of the Quad nations have conducted joint exercises on a number of occasions. China has accused the Quad of fomenting a “new Cold War” mentality and opposes the informal alliance, calling it an “Asian NATO.”
- The Quad has also held meetings in a “Quad Plus” format that included representatives from South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union collectively, and some EU member states individually have also participated in discussions and training in the Indo-Pacific with the Quad nations.
- During Wednesday’s summit, Quad leaders issued a statement to declare their “steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.” They also announced a maritime surveillance initiative to better track dark fishing and shipping activities by Chinese vessels in which they turn off transponders to evade tracking and enter areas they’re not permitted to.
— Eric Revell