North Korea's stated goal of becoming a nuclear-weapon-free nation has elicited many and European leaders' concerns about the security of the region. With this concern, the six-party talks between the six countries, including China, have stalled. The future of the Korean Peninsula could lie in the direction of war, and analysts fear that a confrontation is imminent. If this happens, what impact will the North Korean leadership's actions have on the international community?
North Korea's economy is based on military needs, especially its army. Since the end of the 1950-61 Korean War, the country has been economically dependent on the U.S. For this reason, instability in the country's political structure has threatened its ability to continue with economic growth. When the government collapses, it could initiate a chaos that could cripple the country's ability to trade. Political purges, military rivalry, and international disputes can all lead to conflict, which could severely affect the nation's economy. A collapse of the political system could also depreciate the value of the currency of the country, which could result in a severe dent in its economic growth.
The military relationship between the U.S. and the North Korean government dates back to the Korean War. As economic pressures mount, the two countries could face difficulties maintaining a rigid military alliance. In addition, an impending breakdown of diplomatic relations could seriously jeopardize bilateral trade relations, further limiting the nation's ability to enjoy economic growth. Finally, the reunification of the country into a single political entity could wreak havoc in terms of its ability to facilitate economic growth.
Recently, China has sought to support its northern neighbor by providing commercial and other assistance. However, this gesture has prompted North Korea to take steps that are threatening the security of the nation-state, as well as the security of the international community. In fact, in response to Chinese support, the U.S. State Department issued a report highlighting the nation's track record of belligerent actions. Specifically, the report highlights the following:
In August, the DPRK launched a medium-range missile that it claimed could reach parts of the U.S. Shortly thereafter, it test-fired a long-range missile on its east coast, which is about 695 kilometers away. This action sparked international concern, with the United States, Russia, and other nations vowing to respond with appropriate “unified” actions. On September 9, the Russian government publicly stated that it “does not rule out” the possibility of pre-emption if the United States Navy captures one of its nuclear weapons.
Although the U.S. and its international partners are taking all these potential actions, there is a chance that North Korea could develop nuclear-weapon technology on its own. The nation has been trying to perfect a miniaturized nuclear device since the 1980s. Although smaller than a hydrogen bomb, it is thought to be more powerful than the devices it once tested. Additionally, it is not known whether it has developed an actual weapon or not. If the answer is yes, then the discovery of its efforts would be very disturbing to the international community.
However, there is . . . . . . no guarantee that the current effort will bring about the promised economic growth. Experts are skeptical that North Korea will allow the global community to improve its human condition through economic means, which is why economic growth is viewed as a favorable option. With the United States and its allies gearing up for possible war, it is critical that the United Nations, Security Council, and World Trade Organization take strong measures against this country. The Security Council should refer the matter to the General Assembly for a resolution. At the same time, the United States should increase its economic pressure on China by increasing its commercial relationship with the country. The State Department should designate China as a major currency trader as well, which will further decrease its trade with North Korea.
North Korea is developing its own nuclear weapons technology and threatens other countries using these weapons. Military experts believe this is only going to lead to more complications in dealing with the United States. If the United States Navy captures one of its ships, it will only further irritate the Chinese government, which is North Korea's main trading partner. Thus, the development of nuclear weapons and a military buildup by North Korea is only going to aggravate already tense relations between the U.S., South Korea, and Japan.