The Korean Message

North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile technologies and capabilities despite U.N. sanctions. It is a mystery how such a small country is able to continuously invest in such advanced and expensive technologies requiring costly investments and highly skilled manpower.

The Korean Peninsula has been unstable from the days of the 1953 Armistice, which is just a suspension of hostilities. North and South Korea continue to be technically at war. There is no such comparable two states situation in this world – in this case, the situation is even more unique as the Koreans speak the same language and are of the same ethnicity, whether they are from the North or the South.

While the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains critical and dangerous to all citizens in the Peninsula, it also poses dangers to the neighbouring countries such as China and Japan. Any nuclear war or attempt to attack using ballistic missiles fitted with miniaturized nuclear warheads will cause utter catastrophe to the people living on the Peninsula, and China, North Korea’s biggest supporter, cannot guarantee that it will not happen. China has steadily been losing its grip on North Korea, and has even voted against North Korea in the U.N. Things are not going well for North Korea.

The reactions of the leadership of North Korea are noteworthy, though can be dismissed as outrageous. The recent statements of the Foreign Minister of North Korea at the U.N. make an interesting case – this is probably the first time that North Korea has publicly stated that it would suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, if the U.S. and South Korea suspend their ongoing military exercises which are considered highly provocative and threatening by North Korea. The full transcript of the interview that the Foreign Minister gave earlier this week is available on the internet. The point to note is that North Korea is now using the U.N. forum and global media conferences to argue its case that it is being threatened by world powers and it has no choice except to develop nuclear warfare technology to defend itself.

May be worth considering. Why not have a talk with the North Koreans and find out what exactly they want ? Why use a military drill involving 300,000 troops at almost the borders and shores of North Korea – is that not to be considered threatening ? I am not supporting North Korea’s antics, but it is high time that the U.S. and South Korea ratchet down their actions – in any war, it is highly likely that the North will be defeated hands down while simultaneously causing destruction all around. Why push unnecessary buttons ? There must be a way to draw them to the negotiations table at the U.N.

The Japan Sea and the South China Sea have become highly dangerous due to the actions of North Korea and China. It is extremely crucial for the U.N. to take charge of the hostile situation developing on the ground, and mediate in good will. May be there is reason on both sides and someone neutral has to hear both sides patiently and make good decisions. That’s all there to it, despite decades of animosity, acrimony, bitterness and anger.

Time to take a long step back and think through the consequences of a limited nuclear war even. Is that a sustainable outcome in today’s world ? Surely not.


Vijay Srinivasan

24th April 2016





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