As I sit down to do my chemistry homework, I check my phone to stall my fate. My phone is filled with text messages. I open them to realize that they are all memes about North Korea’s unsuccessful nuclear programs and the stupidity of the country. This may have been funny a couple of years ago, but as of today, the meme is outdated and stale.
On Sept. 15, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The launch was initiated from Sunan, Pyongyang, and the missile landed approximately 3,700 kilometers northeast of the island. The missile test set off “sirens as a government warning, known as J-Alert, … to citizens across a broad swath of northern Japan.” This was the second time the people of Japan “have been directly threatened in recent weeks.” Japan is currently taking defensive measures as schools and workplaces conduct frequent nuclear drills in preparation for attacks. Even Japan, a country that resisted building a military, is considering military measures to these nuclear threats. “I would like to study if our current missile defense is sufficient,” says Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defense minister.
The solution to the dilemma isn’t as simple as negotiation. In the early 1990s, Japan, the U.S. and South Korea negotiated with North Korea to construct two light-water reactors and to provide fuel oil in exchange for abandoning its nuclear programs. Several years later, when the reactors and oil were delivered, North Korea was found having an uranium enrichment program, violating the negotiation. Similar violations have occurred since then.
We also cannot force North Korea to abandon their missiles using military oppression. North Korea has nuclear bombs that can reach the majority of the world. If we were to take military action onto North Korea, it may stir up conflict to another arms race where countries load their multiple nuclear bombs that can disintegrate the world fifty times over. This time, there may not be any negotiations, and the arms race will end in a mutually assured destruction (MAD) as we will finally kiss our world goodbye.
However, there is an alternative to this situation. Currently, the U.S. is negotiating with China and Russia to cut off their supply to North Korea. While this doesn’t tackle the problem directly, it takes a more strategic and analytical approach to the solution. Cutting off supplies is more cost effective compared to military actions, and it’s the most peaceful way to deal with the problem. We can dehydrate North Korea of its resources to possibly force the country to drop its threats and abandon its nuclear and ballistic projects. Given that Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, loves his toys, he will most likely not throw them away, but this may be our best possible solution.
Therefore, we must accept that North Korea is a major threat. They have nuclear missiles of mass destruction with the capabilities to reach the Asian countries and even. We must understand that this is not some ancient country with a wooden catapult aimed at us. It’s a country with a full on nuclear warhead that will vaporize everything in its radius of explosion.