Escalation In United States-North Korean Nuclear Relations

North Korea has recently launched a missile capable of hitting the east coast of the United States as some kinds of means of intimidation to the U.S. government. The U.S. and North Korea have long been in a back and forth concerning the use of nuclear weapons. However, after the U.S. imposed sanctions and publicly spoke out about North Korea’s misconduct, the new and more powerful missile, coined the Hwangsong-15 ICBM, was launched from Pyongyang. The missile reached the atmosphere of the earth and was airborne for 50 minutes, claims bomb specialists theorize this missile could make it to Washington D.C. if it was intended to.

After the launch, the U.S. government was quick to address it. U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that “it would be taken care of” and “that no one should worry.” In a more concerning voice and plan of action, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN said in a Security Council meeting, “if war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday…and if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” While she claims that D.C. is not looking for war in the slightest, it seems as though the U.S. is ready to fight if this is the case.

Potential peace talks when it comes to North Korea and their abandonment of the nuclear weapon are extremely complicated. The complexity of the issue has mainly to do with one global superpower: China. Not only does Chinese foreign policy boast of national sovereignty for all and disagree with foreign intervention across the globe, it also has special interest in keeping North Korea intact. If the regime were to collapse, China would be losing a Communist ally, and instead share a border with South Korea– a nation closely allied with the U.S. and boasting of multiple U.S. military bases. Chinese officials are wary of what this means for their political government and economic ties across Asia, and are invested in preserving their bordering nation of North Korea for the sake of their own political and economic advancement.

However, with tensions rising between the U.S. and North Korea and the growing external foreign pressure to shut the authoritarian North Korean regime down, it is likely that China will soon act against their ally. This resolution is not only to be hoped for the de-escalation in nuclear tension it would cause, but also for the millions of lives it would save from the cruel dictatorship of Kim Jong Un.