The Nuclear Threat in Korea


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     Oct. 10, 2016 is the anniversary of the establishment of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, according to the Washington Post. Furthermore, on Sunday of October 9––ten years ago from yesterday––North Korea tested their first nuclear bomb. The North Korean regime has been on a roll lately, getting more and more powerful nuclear weapons in their arsenal. Van Jackson, who is the Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, told The Washington Post that North Korea is “racing towards the nuclear finish line”. North Korea has added another accolade to their nuclear presence with last month’s nuclear test that took place on September 9––the country’s Foundation Day.

     Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, tested a nuclear bomb on September 9, 2016. The blast power of the bomb was reportedly 10 kilotons, the equivalent to 10,000 tons of dynamite. Radar by the South Korean meteorological administration picked up the explosion. North Korea has run five nuclear tests, beginning in 2006. The first bomb that touched down in October of 2006 was only less than 1 kiloton (kt). However, as the years went by, they have been getting increasingly more violent. In 2009, another test was recorded to be up to 2 kt, then followed by a 6-7 kt test a few years later in 2013. In January of this year, the bombs have began to get less potent with a recorded test of only 4-6 kt. However, the largest blast ever recorded by North Korea, a 10 kt test, was ran this September.

     Many countries—including our own––are opposed to the nuclear tests set forth by North Korea. However, President Barack Obama refuses to allow North Korea feel as though America is feared by them. The President even said in a statement “To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state”. South Korea and Japan are both concerned with the tests. Barack Obama mentioned that South Korea and Japan are allies to the US, which has a “unshakeable US commitment to take necessary steps to defend our allies in the region”, meaning they would have means to step in if a nuclear attack occurred on either of its allies.  

     The North Korean regime dates back to 1948 after the end of World War II. The regime was first lead by communist leader, Kim II-Sung, who occupied the North. Sung wanted to conquer the south to spread North Korea beyond the 38th parallel that separated Korea in half. In 1950, the Korean War began as the regime marched into South Korean territory engaging in a war with South Korean and US soldiers for 3 years until being repelled back. Today, Korea remains separate, and North Korea–unlike the neighboring Republic of S. Korea–is still a communist state. North Korea is one of the world’s last remaining communist states, and has lasted since the start of the cold war shortly after World War II.

     North Korea has goals of mounting a nuclear warhead onto a missile. This is scary, mostly because they are doing so moving ahead quickly. In fact, a claim coming from a South Korean lawmaker reports that they are performing the process of mounting the warheads at a pace that is “faster than previously estimated”. Luckily however, North Korea does not seem to have the technology yet to perform this. An advanced method such as mounting a nuke onto a missile would require modern technology, which North Korea does not possess.

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