From Pyongyang to San Francisco: How can North Korea’s recent escalation potentially impact the Bay Area?


Zenil Koovejee

North Korea’s current state can be traced back to the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with the division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South and the decades of isolation and authoritarian rule that followed under the Kim Dynasty.

In what some are calling a flagrant display of provocative prowess, North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles from its eastern shores, mere days following the discharge of an intercontinental ballistic missile that plunged into the waters of Japan’s western coast. 

Under the veil of tit-for-tat retaliation, the United States has responded by flying long-range supersonic bombers with South Korean and Japanese warplanes. This development has been said to intensify an already precarious situation in the region, highlighting once again the destabilizing influence of North Korea’s arms proliferation efforts on the international level. 

“I’m worried about tension with North Korea. It may seem like it’s happening far away, but we live in a global world, and this could have a huge impact on all of us, including here in the UK,” said United Kingdom resident Prashil Sukla.

While seemingly out of reach, the Bay Area (along with other major cities in the United States) could potentially experience some major side-effects of this recent escalation. For example, as the Bay Area is a hub for technology and innovation, experts have cited that it could be a potential target for cyberattacks or economic espionage by state-sponsored actors of North Korea (in the event of further aggression from both sides). 

“It is definitely possible that North Korea’s recent escalation of tension could transform into the digital space. It could be the case that they showcase their technological capabilities in a way that goes beyond pure military power,” said IT Consultant Kirtida Nannoo

In addition, the escalation of tensions in the region, specifically involving North Korea and neighboring countries, may cause a substantial disruption to the intricate web of global trade, unfavorably affecting international supply chains and precipitating an adverse impact on the trade and commerce in the Bay Area. This unfavorable scenario may lead to an inevitable reduction in the supply of goods and services, a decrease in revenue, and the possibility of job losses.

“It’s important for businesses to be vigilant and proactive in protecting their assets and staying informed on the current state of affairs in the region. You never know what might happen,” said local business owner Jignesh Kantilal.

Moreover, the recent escalation of North Korea is reminiscent of Russia’s actions in the Ukraine conflict, with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of the unilateral suspension of the last major nuclear arms treaty between the US and Russia. Various political commentators have underlined this precarious state of global relations, highlighting the potential for further destabilization in both cases.

“I am concerned about where the world is headed. We are reaching a dangerous tipping point that can, in all honesty, go both ways,” said Kantilal

It is imperative to acknowledge that any potential consequences remain hypothetical, but still serve as an eye-opening testament to the plausible aftermath that could arise from any further escalation initiated by North Korea, not only for the Bay Area, but for the rest of the world at large.