North Korea raises the ante

TENSION in Korean peninsula has increased following latest nuclear test by Pyongyang and threats being hurled on North Korea by some of the countries. North Korea on Sunday conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, prompting the threat of a ‘massive’ military response from the United States if it or its allies are threatened. Speaking outside the White House after meeting with President Donald Trump and his national security team, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump asked to be briefed on all available military options. “Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” Mattis said.
There is no doubt that North Korea has ignored, as pointed out by Beijing, widespread opposition of international community to the conduct of nuclear tests but there is also need to look into the issue dispassionately studying all aspects of the problem especially what causes Pyongyang to persist with its nuclear and missile programme. Development of hydrogen bomb, with ‘unprecedented’ strength and power is serious and must be a legitimate cause for concern for countries like South Korea and Japan. However, geo-strategists point out that there are existential threats to North Korea as highlighted by earlier threats of President Trump to respond with ‘fire and fury that the world has never seen’ if Pyongyang threatened military base Guam and latest White House warning that military capabilities would be used besides Matti’s reference of total annihilation of North Korea. The way the United States has been dealing with North Korea on the issues of nuclear programme as well as sanctions has multiplied tension in the region. It seems that the United States objective was not to prevent the North from developing and advancing its nuclear and missile programme but provocation to increase sense of insecurity among regional countries that is used as a justification for US military presence in the region. In public statements, North Korea has made clear that it wants to be accepted as a full member of the international community and that it wants to develop its economy alongside its nuclear programme. It has also maintained as a long-time goal the desire to reunify with South Korea and we believe are not the intentions that should be disputed by anyone. Therefore, the logic demands engagement, dialogue and not rhetoric, threats that could lead to unforeseen consequences.

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