Tensions rise with North Korea

Fighting fire with fire, not very effective.


Kim Jong-Un has reviewed the plans to strike Guam

Sandy Hutchins, Sports Editor

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have been a topic of discussion for a long time in all news stations, and that includes The Talon. However, there is good reason behind this. For starters, this is an ever-evolving story as presidents change, stances change, and technology changes. Not only is it a changing situation, but it also could have dire effects on all of America. This is a matter of the possibility of nuclear warfare. A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks which has made the possibility of conflict even more real than it has ever been.

On Tuesday, August 8th President Trump took a much harsher stance against North Korea than recent presidents have in a long time. In his usual fashion, he used bombastic language and rhetoric. President Trump told reporters that North Korea better not threaten the United States anymore or else they will be met with “fire and fury.” This is a big deal for some while others dismiss it. Some believe this was a threat that has gotten us another step closer to war, while others simply believe that it was a warning to not attack the United States. Whether a step closer to war or not, this was still a major event in the timeline of this story.

In response to President Trump’s remarks, North Korea ironically threatened the U.S. again. North Korea revealed plans to strike Guam, a U.S. territory, with an enveloping missile attack. The residents of Guam reacted with fear, of course, but being prepared for natural disasters and even hostile countries has helped them manage these threats. On August 15th, North Korea stated that in actuality it will hold off “a little more” before actually acting on the threats. South Korea commented as well on this matter. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s President, stated, “It’s only South Korea that can decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula.” This has been one of the strongest rebukes of Washington’s tactics by South Korea so far. Another country wary about this situation is Japan, who is staying in step with the U.S. on defense and in the recent years has been one of the most loyal and supportive allies with America  on the tensions with North Korea. Japan is looking to become more independent as a regional leader even if it means without the help of the United States. Japan wishes to preserve liberal order and free trade.

America and South Korea began military drills on August 21. These are annual defensive drills that South Korea and America state have no intention to raise the tensions. However, North Korea believes that these drills only add fuel to the fire and also claims that they are rehearsals for invasion. As these drills take place, tensions with the North rise and it is when some of their harshest rhetoric is used.

Since then, North Korea has proceeded to fire three ballistic missiles into the East Sea, which was followed on August 29 with a ballistic missile fired over the Japan. This launch caused Tokyo to send a warning to residents under its path to take cover. After this event, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, told reporters that he had spoken by telephone with President Trump and stated that “Japan and the U.S. stances are completely matched,” adding that they discussed ways to tighten pressure on North Korea. Then on September 3 North Korea detonated their sixth nuclear bomb. This blast was felt in South Korea and China and is measured to be several times as powerful as those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russian president Vladimir Putin still has rejected to cut off North Korea of oil but on September 11 a UN sanction passed unanimously to set limits on oil imports and banned its textile exports to deprive the reclusive nation of the income it needs to maintain its nuclear and ballistic missile program. Most recently, on September 15, North Korea has launched a second nuclear missile over Japan; this missile was the farthest one ever to be launched. Its payload and accuracy, however, are in doubt.

Overall, relations with North Korea haven’t gotten any better, but we are also not on the brink of war as some would have you believe. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that the U.S. wishes to solve the conflict through diplomacy and economic sanctions; however, military operations are being prepared in case all else fails.  While something to keep an eye on, we are in very little danger as of right now. So, there is no need to go running to your bunkers.