March 4, PRAGUE—The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s sudden achievements in nuclear and Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology, and the mutual exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang have escalated tensions in the international environment. The case of North Korea and the US has raised a series of debates and concerns inside the security community, because of the very delicate and complicated nature of the situation. One of the main reasons for the security dilemma is that neither state knows the intentions of the other and this deepens more when there is a lack of communication between the disputed nations as there the US and Russia during the Cold War.
Ever Since the Cold War, the US and Korea have had a very tense political relationship. In 1948 after North Korea established itself as an independent state: that’s when tensions started rising even more as the US unlike the USSR, did not recognize North Korea
Fast forward to 2017, and North Korea has successfully produced and tested Nuclear ballistic missiles and threatened to use them against the United States, stating that they will aim the missiles at the US territory of Guam.
As North Korea’s main aim is survival, a war in the Asian peninsula would not be in the countries’ interest as any direct conflict would jeopardize the entire existence of the totalitarian dictatorship regime currently ruling North Korea. According to experts, the reason North Korea developed nuclear missiles were that Kim Jong-un does not want his future to be similar to that of Libya’s Mo’amar Qaddafi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
The Trump administration has been in excessive tension with North Korea since April 2017, when a US missile strike against Syria in response to the chemical attack carried out by the Syrian government. In the week following the attack, the US deployed an aircraft towards the Sea of Japan heading towards North Korea.
In August 2017, in response to reports by the US intelligence office stating that North Korea has successfully produced missiles which can reach the US mainland, President Trump responded that future threats would be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” In response to President Trump’s statement, North Korea responded by issuing a series of threats, by flying out two missiles over Japanese territory and conducting a nuclear test.
In September 2017, in a speech President Trump conducted in the United Nations; Mr Trump called North Korean President Kim Jong-Un “Rocket Man” and threatened to completely destroy North Korea.
In recent months, President Trump and Kim Jon-Un have been exchanging statements; both claiming to destroy each other’s’ countries. The tactics used by President Trump haven’t been the norm among the previous US presidents. Trump tends to use social media to deliver his statements as he claims that social media helps him deliver his ideas in a more broad state also with the fact that most popular news outlets are anti-Trump.
The most recent tweet President Trump wrote stated: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”.
This tweet came in response to Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech in which he stated “the entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.” This back and forth session of comebacks has been criticized by many and called quite childish as it may sound absurd for the president of one of the world’s most influential nations to behave in such a childish behaviour.
But, should one worry about the possibility of a third world war? Well, the answer is – not really.
In other news, North Korea and South Korea recently talked about the possibility of restoring connections which include a hotline between both Koreas. It came as a surprise as both countries have cut ties and not spoken for over two years since September 2015. The talks also included the fact that South Korea will not include military drills in the upcoming Winter Olympics. President Trump tweeted: “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” adding that “talks are a good thing!” The latest news in the entire situation is that North Korea has claimed that the talks between the North and South have not been facilitated by the US but was only because both countries had the will to go for it. South Korea’s president has also proposed that both countries march together as one at the opening and closing ceremonies.
To sum up, the situation between the US and North Korea has been based on threats and words but no direct, influential actions indeed. The best solution to achieve peace between the two powers would probably be mindful, peaceful talks to avoid unwanted conflicts which might lead to unnecessary loss of life and massive destruction of humanity.
Written by Laila Zohdy.