After a great deal of worldwide tension, it is becoming more and more apparent that countries are now preparing for the worst.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has announced that North Korea will begin to test nuclear weapons despite repeated discontent from the United Nations.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea now joins other nuclear powers which include Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, India and China.
Staying true to their word, North Korea has run a ‘successful nuclear test.’
Their nuclear tests, according to President George W. Bush, would be ‘an unacceptable threat to peace and stability in Asia and the rest of the world.’
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was ratified in 1968 to actively prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. It has been signed by 187 states, including North Korea.
The North Korean foreign ministry put out a written statement saying ‘the DPRK was compelled to pull out of the NPT … as the present U.S. administration scrapped the DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework and seriously threatened the DPRK’s sovereignty and right to existence.’
Kim has also expressed the need for the peninsula to strive for denuclearization. However, North Korea does not plan to ‘denuclearize’ simply because they feel the United States has neglected the idea by ‘isolating and stifling the ideology and system chosen by its people.’
On the other side, the United States has no intention of invading North Korea under any circumstances, but Bush has repeatedly stated that he wants severe consequences decided from countries neighboring North Korea.
China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya suggested that the best way to deal with this issue is through the six-party talks, which have been postponed since last September. This event involved North and South Korea, the United States, Russia, China and Japan.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill has said, ‘We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea. North Korea can have a future or it can have these weapons. It cannot have both.’ Very harsh words, but also necessary to the fullest extent. The world has enough drama right now to start producing an MTV sitcom named ‘The Real World: U.N. Edition.’
What’s done is done at this point, and it seems that Kim may have been guided by his male ego instead of his country’s best interest.
North Korea needs to relax and choose to settle the issue through what seems to be the only non-aggressive manner: the six-party talks, which North Korea agreed to abide by during the six-party joint statements in September last year.
North Korea, represented by Kim, has not only managed to disturb and threaten world peace, but has also squashed diplomatic efforts made during the past couple of years, simply for the sake of testing meaningless nuclear bombs. What is the use of that?
And second, although North Korea is trying to get Washington to back off with their threats of nuclear weapons, other countries await the outcome of the promise made to test nukes.
Not only that, but the sight of the DPRK forming and expanding a nuclear program might trigger several other Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan and even South Korea to do the same.
What should the United States do in this scenario? Dealing with this ‘unacceptable threat to world peace’ would entail U.S. military involvement in yet another country. It is already believed that North Korea possesses more than 10 nuclear weapons. Many countries, including South Korea, China, Russia and the United States, oppose the use of nuclear weapons at all costs. It would further isolate this country that relies so heavily, economically speaking, on others. A third of North Korea’s food and almost all its energy comes from former ally China.
North Korea’s ‘hangover’ endangers not only our country but the rest of the world as well. Russia, Japan, China and South Korea need to step up to the plate as well, showing they, too, can’t be easily intimidated. China, perhaps North Korea’s only ally in past years, has now also been angered by Kim’s actions, leaving him more friendless than ever.
I’ve got an idea for the United Nations: The precautionary principle is more than just a theory. Instead of waiting for certainty of what could happen (for example, a nuclear war), we need to act in anticipation of what could potentially become a catastrophic disaster. As my ecology professor would say, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of gold.’
It will all become clear what the DPRK is trying to accomplish with their guarantee of putting whatever weapons they have under trial. North Korea has been known to ‘talk the talk’ and have gone the extra mile to ‘walk the walk,’ but they are walking on thin ice. At this pace, they will be fortunate to ‘limp’ back to prosperity once this is all over.
Roger Salgado is a first-year literary journalism major.