Development Policy and International Relations
Regarding to the question whether there is a war or not, we better to start on the origin of North Korea’s nuclear programme. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has started nuclear research in the late 1950s. In the mid-1960s, it established at Nyongbyon a nuclear research base with the help of the former Soviet Union and trained a great number of nuclear specialists. A Soviet-imported 800-kilowatt reactor was then set up at Nyongbyon, enabling the DPRK’s nuclear research capacity to take its initial shape. Nyongbyon has hence became the country’s major site of nuclear industry.
In this sense, I would be of the view that we should take a look at three different things which the relevant parties’ position on this tension of Korean Peninsula, the purpose of North Korea, and the use of nuclear weapon.
Regarding to the positions of each relevant parties, please read brief note of it by going to (Let’s see respective county’s position on Korean Peninsula.) Among all relevant parties concerned, we need significantly to focus on China and US’s positions. They want the status quo or war?
China’s leader Xi Jinping during the address of a regional business forum on China’s Hainan island said “No-one should be allowed to throw the region, or even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains.” This statement seems to be unclear whether he means to US or North Korea leaders to stop all provocative actions that may caused chaos not just only in the region but also to the wider world. By the way, it doesn’t matter who is the receiver of this message but what we need to concentrate is that China doesn’t want any change happens, exactly means war shall not occur. In my opinion, there are three things that China wish to see now. Firstly, China surely wish to see is every one exercise self- restrain. Secondly, China wants North Korea coming back to table for Six-Party Talks on denuclearization. Thirdly, China would like to see also North Korea respects for all relevant Resolutions of UNSC. From these points of views, the second and the third points probably the most difficult thing to convince North Korea to do so, even China is the only its alliance in this world.
While at the same time, if we take a look at US presidential debate, North Korea was not counted as a major threat to US national security in US foreign policy, but Iran and terrorism do. It was a debate discussed by Mitt Romney and President Obama during the third presidential debate. Currently, we can see US expressed that “The onus is on the North Koreans to do the right thing here. They are the source of the problem, and the only way to solve this is for them to take a step back,” said by Dan Pfeiffer, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama. In this sense, it has clearly indicated that US’s policy is not going to make war as long as North Korea wish to. More importantly, Even though, US has confirmed that it is now taking North Korea threat seriously but actually US seems to avoid any misinterpret by North Korea on US’s military activity with South Korea in order to take it as pretext for any provocative actions. Therefore, Army Gen. James Thurman had planned to testify at a series of congressional hearings on the operations of the 28,500 American troops in Korea, but he has decided to stay in Seoul next week, the USFK said in a statement. As well as, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Jung Seung-jo, also canceled an annual meeting in Washington with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Martin Dempsey, slated for April 16 in order to avoid more tension.
Another important thing that we should focus on is the position of UK which is the most closed alliance of US. As UK Foreign Secretary Hague said, “This is a regime that has to justify the intense militarisation of their society.” There had not been in recent weeks the visible redeployment of ground forces consistent with an invasion plan, nor “a change in what is happening in North Korean society“, said by Hague. In this sense, I believe that the North Young Leader is attempting to prevent himself from any unpredictable forces domestically which may caused by top high rang officials. Therefore, He is trying to convey message to his followers both military forces and citizens that he has strong enough accountability for maintenance of national destiny at the young age. Thus, Kim Jong-un has to show his muscle. Even though, it declared the withdrawal from the 1953 Korean armistice because the more serious tension he caused with US and South Korea, the more confidence and trust he will get from his followers on his ruling due to he used to learn lesson from his father.
Another major reason that should be considered is the purpose of DPRK if it want to make war. I am of the view that we should understand that the origin purpose of making nuclear programme was of cause to threaten and aim to spread Communist and destroy the United States as it was in the Cold War period. However, Cold War was ended in 1991 after the collapsing of Soviet Union. The tension on nuclear programme is still continued to be a hot subject in the international stage, particularly for relevant parties such as North and South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and US. Therefore, the Six-Party Talks was firstly introduced in August 2003 aiming to end Nuclear Program to ensure peace and stability in Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia at large. On 19 September 2005, a Joint Statement of Fourth Round of Six-Party Talks was released in Beijing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of People’s Republic of China. The Joint Statement is consisting of six paragraphs which Six-Party briefly agreed to support denuclearization of Korean Peninsula in a Peaceful manner and returning to NPT, to abide by the purposes and principles of UN Charter, to promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment, and so on. However, those efforts seem to be useless before North Korea even the country is embargoed which staving its citizens and isolated from the world at large. Still North Korea has continued to develop successfully its nuclear capability in a recent test in February 2013. In this respect, if we look at the DPRK’s position, we should ask do they still want to make war with United States and Republic of Korea after all the end of Cold War period? In this sense, there are only two options here. First, it has plan to unify Korean Peninsula as United Korea. Second, DPRK still want to destroy US as it said. I would be of the view that whatsoever it is just what Kim Jong-un said for their followers and citizens to listen only because to unify Korean Peninsula is also an uneasy task to achieve as it used to fail previously in 1950s. Even though, nowadays it has successfully conducted some kinds of nuclear weapons but what is a difference. South Korea also has US as the the alliance who has a lot of modern nuclear weapon than DPRK does. For instance, the United States Air Force’s B-2 stealth bombers that can carry nuclear weapons has come to conduct its first-ever firing drill in South Korea amid tension on Thursday, 28 March 2013. And what about destroying the US? That would be absolutely impossible to destroy the US even it has or not a capable long-range missile reaching the main land of United States. In this calculation, making war is not what DPRK wants to have at all. So what do they really want? Actually, DPRK is trying to build up itself as the Nuclear Weapon State who has a balance power to talk equally with the US.
Therefore, I am of the view that DPRK is just trying to use nuclear programme to sustain it regime only. In this regard, the tension caused by DPRK is just a strategic tool for threatening South Korea, Japan, and US for some exchanges only. Because the more tension are, the more value of exchange will be. As well as, due to the Young Leader of DPRK who had studied in western may realized that nuclear power could provide North a balance of power which is usable and workable for bargaining negotiation. And that could also sustain and secure Kim’s regime in a long run. More importantly, nuclear weapon is globally known as a kind of instrument that uses to prevent invasion and uses for threatening but not for making war. Israeli is the best example for this.
Khov Ea Hai