TOKYO — Reports of two more North Korean missiles crashing into the Sea of Japan are just the latest exchange in the 20-year war between the rogue state and the inanimate body of water.
The medium range ballistic missiles were launched from just north of Pyongyang on Wednesday morning. They slammed into the calm water minutes later in what many have called an “unprovoked attack.” North Korea has conducted several such launches in recent weeks, with separate volleys numbering 25 and 30 missiles apiece. The Sea of Japan remained quiet- unwilling, or perhaps unable, to respond.
This most recent missile launch has been met with international condemnation from both the United States and South Korea. Japan has also responded by registering a “strong protest” with the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently in The Hague attending the Nuclear Security Summit. He voiced his confused disapproval through an interpreter, “We’re not really sure what you’re doing up there but, well—knock it off!”
This conflict, dubbed the “Blood Is Thicker Than Water War,” has been raging for years. It is believed to have begun when Kim Jong Il, the former leader of North Korea, first took office in 1994. Rumors began to swirl that the eccentric leader believed the Sea of Japan had cheated him once in a bareknuckle boxing match. Admittedly, Kim was not certain if the offense had actually occurred or happened in a fevered dream. By then, however, passions between North Korea and the geographical feature made war inevitable.
When Kim Jong Un took control of the country, many in the CIA expected him to cease hostilities with the Sea of Japan.
“Sure. Why not? It’s a damn ocean or whatever,” said analyst Trip Maxwell. “But the executions in December sent a clear message. The new leader takes this conflict very seriously.” He then added, “And is probably pretty nuts.”
This past December, Kim had his uncle and others executed as “enemies of the state.” It is believed that the rift began at a family reunion when his uncle refused to wear a specialty t-shirt reading “Jong Time, No See.” This enraged Kim. When he later saw his uncle drinking from a hose at the barbecue, Kim assumed he was whispering military secrets to the Sea of Japan and had him summarily executed.