North Korea Crisis: When Will it End?

As many are aware, citizens of North Korea have been living under the malicious dictatorship of Kim Jong Un for over five years now. As his recklessness grows, the world looks on in shock and disbelief. This is a man willing to do whatever he finds necessary to maintain his power – when will he be stopped?

The malevolent acts of Kim Jong Un have shown no limits. A former North Korean guard, Lim Hye-jin, at the tender age of 20, states that she was forced to watch as several members of one family were killed after they attempted to escape one of the horrific camps in North Korea. “Two brothers were beheaded in front of everyone. They called everyone to watch as a warning not to flee. The other prisoners then had to throw stones on them,” she says. During another occasion, Hye-jin witnessed a woman stripped naked then casually set on fire because she “annoyed” a guard while she was interrogated for a crime she did not commit. “[The guards] do not see them as human beings, just animals,” she said.  She added: “We were manipulated not to feel any sympathy for prisoners. We were told they had committed terrible crimes. Now I know they were normal people so I feel very guilty.” Ahn Myung-Chul, another runaway prison guard who worked in four different camps, said: “Those who die are the lucky ones. This is modern-day slavery, torturing people over decades.”

That is just a glimpse of the tragedies that have occurred under Kim’s rule. While the world slowly plans its attempt to diminish and ultimately rid Kim’s dictatorship, North Korea has raced ahead in building its missile and nuclear weapons program. The new program can result in a crisis potentially more serious than anything since the end of that of the Korean war. However, recent failed missile launches have been viewed by many as an embarrassment to North Korea. Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that despite the failed launches, North Korea continues to gain valuable knowledge in missile technologies. Moon Seong Mook, a South Korean analyst and former military official agrees, stating that “[North Korea] could be testing a variety of things, such as the thrust of the rocket engine or the separation of stages… a failure is a failure, but that doesn’t mean the launch was meaningless.”

To address this crisis peacefully, the solution must include convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. A preemptive war to disarm North Korea should not be an option, for it would bear far more catastrophic risks. We cannot simply sit watching with patience, allotting North Korea more and more time to muscle up a nuclear weapon that can reach as far as Washington D.C. Actions must be taken quickly before it is too late.