Do you hear us now? Just yesterday, T5 referred readers to a story by Jesse Johnson that noted the muted global reaction to the firing of two short-range missiles into the sea by North Korea over the weekend.

A day later, the Kim Jong Un regime has everyone’s attention. North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday, fueling tension ahead of the Tokyo Games and ramping up pressure on the new U.S. administration as it finalizes its North Korea policy.

The U.S. should keep calm and carry on — complete its policy review, consult with allies and then agree on a way forward, argues the JT Editorial Board. Pyongyang’s attempts to escalate should be called out for what they are: transparent efforts to dictate the tempo and nature of a confrontation.

North Korea missile launch: A message to Joe Biden? | DW NEWS
North Korea missile launch: A message to Joe Biden? | DW NEWS

Kyodo has reported that Japan is eager for the U.S. to resume denuclearization talks with North Korea, with Tokyo explaining its position to the U.S. last month. Japan believes that talks between Washington and Pyongyang are more likely to succeed than a multilateral approach, both on nuclear issues as well as in efforts to secure the return of Japanese citizens abducted by the North.

Families of the Japanese abductees snatched in the 1970s and 1980s have also called on the Biden administration to focus on the issue, filing a request at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo addressed to Antony Blinken during the secretary of state’s visit to Japan earlier this month.

Oh, and one more thing: The Japanese government would very much appreciate it if, next time, the U.S. refers to the waters where the missiles splashed down as the Sea of Japan — not the “East Sea,” as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command called it Thursday. Much appreciated.