By Paulina Anaya.
It’s official: North Korea has threatened the United States with a nuclear attack if the Western country doesn’t terminate provocative actions in regions of interest to the North Korean regime. Recent US military activity has been deemed of high defiance to Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s supreme ruler. “We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war,” was one of the official statements released by the North Korean government, and so far, has the world standing on edge.
April 15th, also the day of the 105th anniversary celebration of North Korea’s first president, was the day most of this went down as a gesture of military prowess from North Korea to its biggest diplomatic and military rival: the US. The majestic parade was the perfect opportunity to broadcast the nation’s current military capabilities. No nation wants to believe that North Korea can wage a nuclear war because it remains disconnected to the rest of the world. Dangerous underestimation? Probably so. President Trump has so far only commented on the tremendous “mistake” Kim Jong-un was making, but further action remains to be seen.
The North Korean threat is one more stop on the way to war, one that has been brewing silently at first and then loudly for many years. Unfortunately, the feeble relationship between North Korea and the outside world makes it virtually impossible to predict the country’s upcoming moves or even how advanced its nuclear arsenal is. During the parade, North Korea showed off two new types of intercontinental missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and land-based ones. The possession of ICBMs puts Europe and the US at risk because as the name states, they have intercontinental reach. Meanwhile, the other ballistic missiles are of shorter range but still manage to pose a threat to the rest of Asia as relations with other countries (especially China) are turning sour.
2017 has been a year of hostility between North Korea and the US, especially since Kim Jong-un’s presidential message during New Year’s celebration, where he mentioned this as being the year when North Korea would test its first ICM. It looks like the regime has succeeded in creating the ICM; when it will test it is the real question now. The parade, full of open threats and warnings aside from impressive nationalism, was a show of strength.
The US-deployed aircraft carrier battle group in the region sparked a completely unnecessary wave of animosity between both nations. However, the ICM revealed in the parade is one Trump should fear because if it really is capable of reaching the US mainland, tens of thousands of lives are already at risk. North Korea has big nuclear ambitions, having conducted in the past at least five confirmed nuclear tests and a series of missile launches that have garnered international condemnation. The United Nations (UN) has imposed sanctions on Pyongyang for its weapons programs but to no avail; all the sanctions have done is further isolate North Korea from the possibility of cooperation.
Conflict could in fact break out at any moment, which is why the US and China are supposedly working closely to maintain the North Korean regime in check. No one wants to wage a nuclear war, not the US, not China. Plus, how smart would it be to wage war against an enemy about which we rarely know anything? The truth is, the US and China are practically in the dark regarding North Korea’s military strategies. Pyongyang may well have a much bigger and developed nuclear arsenal than it publicly admits. Nuclear weapons have evolved unprecedentedly since 1945 when Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively as war tactics. A single nuclear anything today could easily surpass the destruction of the two nuclear bombs used during World War II. Insight into North Korea’s nuclear tests and its effects on the world can be gained from What We Didn’t Learn From Hiroshima and Nagasaki: North Korea’s Fifth Nuclear Weapon’s Test, a previous article on The Epoch Herald.
The immediate countries at risk are South Korea and Japan (who have already had close calls with North Korea’s previous nuclear and missile tests) because now that the US has been informed that Pyongyang has ICMs at its disposal, it may have to shift its willingness to defend those nations if North Korea were ever to attack them. Why? Because ICMs put the US mainland at risk and it’s all about “America First” for the Trump administration.
Trump likes the good fight, but not the diplomatic type, it seems. Since the days of his presidential campaign, it was observed that a big part of his presidency was going to be about military prowess. Despite the fact that the US has the biggest military in the world, his threats of war don’t frighten North Korea. In fact, the regime seems to welcome them so that North Korea may respond in even more worrying ways. If Trump wants to negotiate with Kim Jong-un, he’s going to have to bite his tongue, because insulting the regime’s leader and his ways certainly does not pave a path to a diplomatic relationship, and that is not fake news!
In attempts to calm growing tension, the US, South Korea, Japan, and China have tried to resume dialogue in the region; but if the UN has been unable to control the regime’s nuclear ambitions, what hope is there for the nations that wage a war of words with North Korea? Distress is on the rise, and now Russia is on-board the mission to avert the crisis, too. Will Putin be able to cool things off as he managed to do so a few years ago for the Syrian crisis? US-Russia, Russia-China, and US-China relations are certainly not exemplary at the moment but perhaps for the peace of the whole world they will be able to get this done if conflicts of interest don’t get in the way. Then again, when has this happened in the past? One thing is clear for North Korea: nuclear annihilation is at the top of its agenda.
Featured Image: “NORTH KOREA VICTORY DAY 139” was originally posted to Flickr by Stefan Krasowski. The image has been licensed for fair use by the creator under the Creative Commons license – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). No modifications were made.