Mahrukh A Mughal
North Korea is hardly one of those countries being nominally under the communist rule and is known for its secretive culture. North Korea emanates in 1948 at the time of chaos successive to the World War II. As subsequent to the demise of Kim Jong ll, North Korea has moved into an era of radical modifications laden with unpredictability. For North Korea, military missiles expansion is integral and is imperative to the survival of Kim Jong-un regime. Pyongyang is much aggravating its nuclear capabilities and becoming hostile to pose threats to those that may tend to hit it with a nuclear attack and reciprocally will be getting a nuclear attack in its very own Korean style.
Recently, North Korea fired long-range strategic ballistic rocket of larger nuclear warhead to the West sea of Japan with an altitude of 2000KM defying UN sanctions and causing more alarming situation to the security and peace of the world. ICBMS are evidently known for a state being capable of power prognostication as to wield hefty firepower contrary to its adversary if on the other end of the planet and just to fire nuclear weapons, a massive money and efforts is to be spent. It seems crucial for Pyongyang to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) of larger nuclear warheads but so far attained the capability of developing Hwasong-12 longest-range nuclear weapon yet and from 1984 producing their very own designs called Hwasong, Hwasong-5, Hwasong-6 known as Scud-B and C of ranges 300KM and 500KM.
These missiles can dispatch orthodox warheads and they could have nuclear, biological and chemical capabilities. In the horizon of escalated tensions, US will not only tighten up economic sanctions but it will also keep a missile system activated against the North Korea as to halt its ballistic missile tests and weapons of nuke program. Apprehensions much aggravated by breaching all UN sanctions usually in the month of spring as military rhetoric began to flare up between Pyongyang and among its allies and counterparts. For Pyongyang, nuclear weapons give a sense of guarantee to its security.
And for this, Kim Jong-un is determined to bear any international punishment or censure disregard to the global views and recommendations from his allies and adversaries about his country. He has no care whatsoever, unlike his grandfather and father who at least caution the thoughtful understanding of its ally China. China being exasperated and recently chooses to follow up the sanctions on its recalcitrant ally North Korea through UN ban on the imports of coal. Trump’s insistence to China as to put screws to North Korea’s growing military sophistication and much now, military attitudinize of US will aggrandise the tensions for China, as it is exceptionally disposition towards Pyongyang. This manner provoked China to throw weight around Pyongyang as unilateral sanctions until it demeanor a sixth nuclear test. Many options are thoughtful to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear sophistication but some are not good to consider about.
An option of pre-emptive strike on the nuclear weapons of North Korea will probably ignite an elephantine retaliation against Seoul as 10 million civilians and US soldiers of about 28000 will get targeted in result. Other than this is the option of UN sanctions but carry much loopholes in implementation and it could work out much if US could put rigorous harrowing embargo with effective vigilance and coordination as it did against Iran. For US, denuclearisation is the modus of operandi for talks but this will result as futile because this precondition could not be accepted by North Korea. US probably have many options like diplomatic way outs and tougher economic sanctions as Trump previously has agreed to talk on this issue with Kim as following up some Barak Obama’s policy of strategic patience but according to them it would be stupid of North Korea to provoke the world with imminent danger of developing nuclear weapons and gathering ambitions to strike US. The brinkmanship practicing policy has launched into a new phase.
For Seoul, the security worries flares up by existential threat of growing nuclear program which now entered into a new phase of adventurous brinkmanship of despotic North Korea at their doorstep. Under the nuclear menace, South Korea has lived the artillery of Pyongyang adjacent to the demilitarized precinct for decades with frequently employing bellicose rhetoric towards its identified adversaries that longer struggled to authorize as the nuclear weapons state. Over the relentless advancements in diplomatic talks, economic sanctions and threats of military force, Seoul and Washington has tried a lot to deal with contingency planning, sanctions and military exercises but the evilness and aggression of the rogue regime has not probably to ease down and now both bewildered into a “North Korean Quagmire” as they misread the capabilities and intentions of North Korea because the logic behind its actions have been misunderstood and for that the situation has aggravated intensely. Before Trump was driving up a provocative narrative as to be an unorthodox politician but now took a harder stance on North Korea to halt all its nuclear and ballistic missile tests before the talks to initiate.
Today, there exists a blockade in course of engagements with North Korea as US diplomats finds it less feasible and are in dark to develop the connections with North Korean counterparts on strategic impulsions and negotiating arrangements. From a longer period of time, North Korean provocations were pronounced as hypothetical, blackmailing and empty words. Rather the North Korean approach has to be empirical but have been based on preconceived ideas, wishful thinking and misinformation. Now it’s a high time for developing proper framework of policy reconstruction to deal with current nuclear threat on empirical and pragmatic basis.
— The writer is political analyst based in Lahore.