North Korea: Real Threat or is Their Tail Between Their Legs?
North Korea Has Been At The Forefront Of War Speculation In Recent History. Should We Be Worried?
North Korea has been making the news constantly in the last couple of years. This is due to their constant threats, missile testing and tendency to murder anybody who vocalizes a negative opinion about the communist country. On the 22nd June 2017 North Korean official Kye Chun Yong stated
“Under certain circumstances, we are willing to talk in terms of the freezing of nuclear testing and missile testing.”
Whether this implies that North Korea could attempt to push foreign nations into meeting demands or providing aid is unknown. To clash with North Korea’s previous claim just days before, Kim Jong Un today attempted to show strength by stating the nation would “mercilessly annihilate” the United States for “warmongering”
Fears were heightened because it became known that last Sunday, the 25th June, marks the anniversary of the Korean War. During this war, an estimated 1.5 million Chinese and North Korean soldiers were killed. The Chinese and North Koreans were allies during this war that started in 1950 and ended in 1953. This began a relationship between the two nations.
After the May 16th, 1961 coup in South Korea. new South Korean leader Park Chung-hee warned that he would increase military spending and take action against North Korea who’s leader at that time was Kim Il-sung.
Hundreds of women marched in North Korea declaring revenge on the US this week whilst claiming the U.S backed an operation that killed 35,000 of their soldiers during the Korean war.
Sino-Mutual Aid And Cooperation Friendship Treaty of 1961.
This lead to the North Korean-Chinese treaty known as the Sino-Mutual Aid And Cooperation Friendship Treaty of 1961. This treaty states that in the event of an outside attack, China would be obliged to provide military and otherwise supportive aid to North Korea. The treaty promotes peaceful cooperation in culture, economics, technology and other social benefits between the two nations. Article 2 of the treaty states that both nations guarantee to immediately implement all necessary measures to oppose any country or coalition of countries that might attack either nation. The treaty automatically renews every 20 years and was last renewed in 2001. The treaty is due to renew again in 2021 in which China may have an option to end the treaty.
This treaty would explain why China is hesitant to take action against North Korea and hasn’t shown an overwhelmingly eager intention of backing the U.S and President Donald Trump. If China decides to act against this treaty, conflict could ensue which would damage both nations substantially. A large portion of North Korea’s trade is with China so a stoppage to their trade would result in North Korea’s economy crumbling further. The problem China has is the fact that in a time of conflict, hundreds of thousands if not millions of North Korean’s would pile over the Chinese border as refugees.
Otto Warmbier was an American tourist from Ohio who was caught trying to smuggle a North Korean propaganda poster out of the country. He was detained and kept in North Korea for a year and a half. Much of this time was spent in a coma. He had suffered severe brain injuries which North Korea stated was “a mystery” to them. Clearly, North Korea was sending a message to their enemies through this act of sheer evil. They deny claims that he was tortured but it is clear that he was physically harmed while imprisoned. The North Koreans told US officials that Warmbier slipped in a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill. How Donald Trump will react diplomatically is still unsure but he stated on Twitter
“The U.S. once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim”
Trump also thanked President Xi Jinping for his efforts in helping the U.S. address problems with North Korea. China responded in a press conference stating they are playing an “important and constructive role” in seeking peace in relation with the Korean peninsula.
China has now stated that they will back the U.S in their aim for a “complete irreversible” denuclearizing of North Korea. This to me does not indicate that China will implement diplomatic sanctions themselves, but that they are trying to appease Donald Trump and relieve the pressure for a little while.
I think due to the information above, China will have to think very hard about whether or not to side against North Korea whilst the Sino-Mutual Aid And Cooperation Friendship Treaty is in effect. In 2021 we may see the treaty fail to be renewed in which case China will be free to pursue diplomatic sanctions against North Korea along with The U.S, Japan, South Korea and Russia.
I think Kim Jong Un and North Korea are fearful and this would explain why they are attempting to flaunt show’s of strength by threatening nuclear attacks and conducting missile tests. Right now, troops from South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S are all surrounding North Korea. South Korea is also testing weaponry that they may have the intention to use against North Korea. I do not believe Kim Jong Un is prepared to go to war. This is an empty threat. His missile tests are like a wounded man with a stick trying to fight over a hundred coyotes as they prepare to eat him.
I do not think we should be overly worried. If he did decide to attack, North Korea would be wiped off the face of the earth the same day. Many countries that have nuclear capabilities also have sensors that can detect when another country launches a missile of any kind. This sensor automatically launches a retaliation attack. Everybody should remain calm and not feed into the scaremongering of the close to the dead communist nation.
China stopped investing in North Korea back in 2016 but this is not enough of a contribution. Given the news that they would back the U.S in their aim for a “complete irreversible” denuclearizing of North Korea, I think China is worried about Chinese-U.S relations but I don’t believe any significant action will be taken yet. They need to back allied nations in putting diplomatic sanctions on North Korea, this should include shutting down North Korea’s nuclear program and forcing them to lay down their nuclear weapons. They should be limited in how much military power they can possess, and they should be made to adopt a true democratic set of laws, dictator Kim Jong Un would need to step down peacefully and transfer power to a deliberative assembly or senate to run the country democratically. This is not likely, but even if it were possible. The process could take a decade or longer.
Written by Kane John Woodward
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