“The moment of explosion is approaching fast.”
This quote from the general staff of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s military is just one of the many threats that the country has issued over the past month. Angered by the sanctions that the United Nations has placed on them for testing nuclear weapons, North Korea claims it will strike both the United States and South Korea. Though relations have never been good between the U.S. and North Korea, it seems the issue has been taken to another level.
This new strain between nations began with the training runs of American B-52 bombers over South Korea last March. Angered by the military exercises, threats to bomb U.S. bases in the Pacific were once again being thrown by Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. Coupled with the country’s most recent nuclear test last February, the situation is being taken more seriously than usual.
Not long after the initial threats, North Korea stated that the Korean Peninsula should be considered back in a state of war. Last month, they nullified the truce that ended the 1953 Korean War. They pledged to restart nuclear reactors that had been shut off since 2007. As of this month, they moved a mid-range missile to their east coast. It seems that North Korea means business.
Contrary to recent events, North Korea having nuclear weapons is not a new discovery. They’ve been working on that front for almost 20 years. Three tests have been conducted since 2006, all of which have been heavily frowned upon by the U.N. and the United States. Now the question that most individuals are concerned with is whether North Korea is actually reckless enough to launch a nuclear missile.
Although seeming to take it more seriously than previous events, is the United States taking North Korea seriously enough? The majority of U.S. analysts claim that the North doesn’t have the capability to launch a missile that will reach the continental states. However, they don’t have to launch a missile directly from the Korean mainland. One could be launched from a sea-borne vessel, in order to get a weapon that much closer to an American-affiliated target. North Korea has also launched a satellite into orbit, and that takes quite a bit of rocket capability.
Even if they don’t launch a missile, it could further ignite similar issues with the Middle-East. Iran and North Korea seem to be walking similar paths with their nuclear development programs. Even worse, the North could deliver knowledge or weapons to the Middle-East. That thought may be going a bit far, but when nuclear weapons are concerned, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?
This “wait and see” attitude taken by the United States may result in the country backpedaling when a significant event finally does occur. It may not be a strike on the United States mainland, but it may be on a military installation or on South Korea. Instead of consistently arguing against North Korea’s capabilities, the U.S. needs to accept that North Korea will not give up its nuclear arms program. The U.S. needs to be straightforward with citizens about the intensity of the threat, as opposed to these varying views of “capable” or “non-capable.”
A better way to deal with this threat will arise when the confusion and speculation is no longer so. That should be one of the main priorities of the United States at this point in time. It’s often said that the first casualty of war is truth. If the global community wants a good outcome to this situation, they can’t afford for truth to die.
Dalton Carver is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email him at email@example.com or tweet him @dalty_james.