North Korea experiences uptick in tension


Zenil Koovejee

Formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea was founded in 1948 when the United States and the Soviet Union divided the Korean Peninsula.

Max Kiyoi, Staff Writer

This past month, North Korea announced itself as a nuclear-armed state under a new law or nuclear policy. The latest status means discussions about denuclearization with the country would not be plausible with North Korea in the coming future. 

“Historically, countries that have nuclear weapons have never had an alliance where Western military nations invade and attack them. For a country to possess nuclear weapons and say so publicly is seen as insurance against military aggression on the part of Western countries,” said World History Teacher Christopher Murphy.

If another country were to pose an immediate threat, North Korea could enact its automatic ability to destroy those hostile threats. The policy also bans North Korea from sharing nuclear weapons with other nations, even those the region may be allied with.

Why are North Korea’s tests important?

North Korea has launched over forty missiles since the start of 2022, some directly spanning over the country of Japan. Tests that do not contain any nuclear component are dummy tests, where launches are designed to reach new heights (620 miles) and new distances (2,800 miles) than before. 

“I think they’re [North Korea] projecting power, trying to intimidate and force the international community to recognize them as a nuclear power. That way, they can negotiate a reduction of the sanctions we’ve imposed on them for the last 20 years,” said Scott Howard, retired signal processing worker in the defense industry.

There is the possibility that the missiles can carry more than one warhead, making it much more dangerous wherever it is aimed. At the speed at which recent North Korean missiles were traveling, officials determined that the weapon broke into pieces at impact. Numerous political commentators have assumed that South Korea, Japan, and the United States would attempt to preserve the ocean wreckage.

“America’s foreign policy, right now, is directed first and foremost towards Russia and its invasion of Ukraine. I’m sure that North Korea looked at this as an opportunity to perhaps expand their thumbprint and influence in the Pacific Rim if American interests are elsewhere,” said Murphy.

Response to North Korea’s launches

Following recent aggression from North Korea, South Korea and the United States officiated practice military drills. The US sent fighter jets to join South Korea in their precision-bombing drillsm, and more missiles from North Korea were launched in response. 

“North Korea wants to be taken seriously and I think that the missile tests are a way to do that…I don’t know if it makes a lot of sense but I think that’s why they’re doing it. They are doing the tests in order to believe that they have leverage over Japan and South Korea to get them to the bargaining table to treat North Korea like a partner,” said Murphy.

Even though the future remains uncertain, the West’s relationship with North Korea is currently in lieu. Many global commentators and the world wonder whether North Korea will continue to be the world’s most rogue state or whether a fundamental change will finally befall this decades-long conflict. 

“It’s a dangerous situation, you got a regime in North Korea that is led by a singular person not a group of people where there’s discussion. I think if we push Kim Jong Un into a corner, it could be that he will create a situation that is untenable. That will create a conflict or a war in Korea,” said Howard.