Archive for the ‘North Korea’ Category

North Korea announced yesterday that it will test launch another long-range rocket for the commemoration of the one year anniversary of the death of the former leader Kim Jong-Il. This launch is said to take place any time from December 10 to December 22. The report mentions how this announcement was made after Chinese delegation went to visit North Korea. It was speculated that China had sent a delegation to speak with North Korea about halting launches of test missiles. Critics say that this launch is a cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. South Korea and the United States see this test launch as a provocation from North Korea.

“In Washington, the Obama administration also denounced the planned launching. A North Korean ‘satellite’ launching would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement on Saturday. She added that the United States was consulting with allies on the issue.”

This article reflects my points covered in my North Korean Nuclear Proliferation research paper. It demonstrates the argument I made of North Korea’s “two faced” actions. North Korea says the missile launch is a form of celebrating the memory of previous leader Kim Jong-Il as it did in April when it launched a missile to remember Kim Il-Sung the creator the Korean nation. When in reality these launches are actual missile testing under the disguise of commemoration for previous leaders. Though the April launch was a failed launch, this new launch is said to be full of hope for success as previous errors were corrected. This announcement by North Korea only elevates the tension between North and South Korea and inevitably a concern for the United States even though North Korea may not be a priority on America’s foreign policy check list right now, though it is there as a concern. North Korea seems to be using in my opinion these test launches as a form of leverage for negotiations for economic aid and to serve as a reminder to other countries the potential it could have with its missile launches and its continued focus on the production of weapons of mass destruction.



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This article talks about a poll taken in Egypt which had some disconcerting results. Foremost of which was that there was an overwhelming desire to obtain a nuclear bomb from Iran. Israel was seen as a racist and evil place and the U.S. and Obama and administration was more for Israel than arabs in general. Mitt Romney‘s statements about Obama letting our relations with Israel deteriorate were seen as false. That was of course after many asked who Mitt Romney was. Hillary Clinton actually had fairly positive reviews for some reason. However, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad had garnered a large amount for support. It’s unclear to me as to what specifically caused Egyptians to develop these ideas but it is alarming that they feel this way.

Nuclear proliferation is something to be concerned about. While more than a few countries have the technology today, for the most part, they’re stable. In the future some political scientist will probably come up with some fancy title for Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and then maybe Egypt developing nuclear weapons. For now its unnamed but this trend is seeming very disconcerting. Egypt isn’t fully stable yet and it’s political actors are’t all in favor of peace with the west, much less peace with Israel. This would only seem to add concern over the Iranian nuclear program. They’ve already said they would help other states achieve nuclear weapons as a deterrent against Israel.

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“SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea claimed Tuesday to have missiles that can reach the American mainland, and it said that the recent agreement between the United States and South Korea to extend the range of the South’s ballistic missiles was increasing the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula

This past Sunday an agreement between the United States and South Korean was made to extend its missile range. In retaliation to this agreement North Korea responded by stating that they too have long-range ballistic missiles that could reach the “heart”  of the United States as stated in the New York Times. North Korea criticizes South Korea for being a puppet of the United States and also stated that they do not hide the fact that their armed forces keep South Korea and US military bases in Korea, Guam, Japan as possible scope of strike. North Korea has even propaganda that shows their missiles hitting the United States capital as way to prove their point that the too are ready with long-range ballistic missiles. Though there is talk if whether to believe that North Korea does posses long-range missiles it is still a problem for the United States if North Korea does have these capabilities. This article in the New York Times brings to me the question if whether the United States thought thoroughly of the possible consequences of this agreement and whether or not they thought North Korean would do nothing in response to this agreement since the possession of ballistic missiles has always been a huge concern for the United States in North Korea. It is said that this could increase the risk of war in the Korean peninsula. These questions that I present, I believe can be tied back to the in class discussion of decision-making and whether if in this case did the United States make the right choice with this agreement?


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This article is an old one but it works as an AMAZINGLY similar case study to frame what’s currently going on with Iran. Consider the case of North Korea and their nuclear program. To list some similarities, both are countries that have governments that seem tyranical and dictatorial. Both have long standing grudges with their neighbors (litterally from the time when the countries were created). Both have enemies with nuclear capabilities adjacent to them. The similarities are numerous.

With North Korea, they just bided their time until they built a bomb and when it was finished the hype died down and now we don’t even talk about it. To say that nuclear bombs being developed by Iran is something to go to war over seems a bit of a stretch. They’re attempting to build something for the first time that the U.S. has been toying with for over fifty years. And they don’t even have the ICBM technology that North Korea did. Isreal finds it to be a national security problem but they have second strike capablilties. While MAD isn’t something really take seriously anymore, it seems to me that Iran wouldn’t randomly decide to use it’s brand new bomb on their neighbor just to have Isreal wipe them off the face of the planet afterwards. It may seem as though I am asking for far too much slack with my theories but, under the rational actor model, we assume all actors to be rational, that is; they all have an ordered list of priorities which they consult before taking action. I believe that the members of both the Isreali and Iranian government prioritize not just staying in power, but also staying alive above resorting to nuclear war just because they don’t like eachother. North Korea and South Korea didn’t; niether did Japan and North Korea. The Solvients never used their bombs in battle. We haven’t even used nuclear bombs since WWII and the U.S. has actually gone to war while having them. My point is, Iran will most likely finish it’s bomb but then just sit on it.

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United States recently vowed to deploy an aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, to the Yellow Sea for joint millitary manuevers with South Korea, to be held on Sunday afternoon. North Korea warned of “unpredictable consequences” if US fulfills its vow.
Even China had sided with North Korea in criticizing and warning US and Korea against carrying on “sensitive and provocative military actions.”
However, United States However, according to Jeff David, a public affairs officer for U.S. 7th Fleet, the military drill will not have live firing element to provoke NK attacks…and US had described the drill as defensive in nature.

On the other hands, Japan and Russia and China are all alarmed about the tension in the Korean peninsula and stressed the need to restrain from escalating the tensions and hold dialogs to relieve tensions.

However, the tension remains big in the Korean peninsula, with North Korea promising attack if US deploys the aircraft carrier, and South Korean people being angry at the government for not doing enough in response to the North’s attack. There has been protests on the streets of Seoul by the veterans of South Korean military, protesting the lack of response by the South Korean government. As a side note, the current President Lee Myung Bak of South Korea had promised in his campaign, a sterner approach in dealing with the provocative actions of North and to not tolerate such actions as his predecessors had done.

It has been several days since the attack, and things are not looking good. Many Koreans seem to worry that the U.S. deployment of its aircraft carrier does not necessarily mean that US will give full support to South Korea in case the war does actually break out, and that it is merely “trying to flex its muscles” and show its strong military ties with the South out of mere symbolic behavior.

The yongpyeong attack being the first direct assault on South Korea since the Armistice of 1953, it is highly unlikely that the whole issue can be settled through mere dialogs, and escalation into war seems more and more likely to me.

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Yesterday afternoon, North Korea fired 200 rounds of artillery shells on South Korean military base in the Island of Yongpyeong.  South Korea fired back, and the situation at the Korean peninsula is quite tense at the moment.  It had not been very good, with the the  Korean War never having ended and the sinking of Cheonan having had raised antipathy towards the Northern neighbors in South Korea.

No one is really sure about North Korea’s reason for firing bombs at South Korea, but the North Korea’s official statement regarding this incident is that it was a “well-justified act of self-defense” against the South Korea’s continuous navy exercises that the North Korea has repeatedly warned South Korea to stop.

Some experts on the region, such as Brian Myer on Guardian Press, has said that it might be Kim Jong-Il’s attempt to raise domestic legitimacy for his regime.  having failed in in proving legitimacy through  economic terms, he might be doing it through military pride and strength.

Some say that it might be totally unprovoked, arbitrary firing to draw attentions from the international arena, related to how it had recently show-cased its uranium enrichment facility to Hector, an American nuclear scientist at Stanford University, partly to draw attention to itself, but did not have any specific actions from U.S. government regarding it….

Whatever the reason might be, this military skirmish has jacked up the tensions between the North and South  Korea.  Thankfully, there hadn’t been too much loss of people in South Korea from this conflict, which hopefully, will not lead to increased hard-liner support in the general South Korean public.  President  Lee Myung Bak of South Korea has promised “enormous retaliation” for this “invasion of South Korean territory” in order to stop North Korea’s incitement, but the international community has been appealing to Lee Myung Bak for restraint.

United States and Japan have publicly condemned North  Korea for its actions and United States has promised its South Korean ally to stand on its side.  I believe that this incident actually might have a possibility of resulting in escalation and resumption of the Korean War, given the high tensions between the two countries and the fact that this is the first direct military skirmish between the two countries since the armistice after the Korean War.  It all depends on how the South Korean government responds, and how the United States responds, and how the North Korea and its Chinese ally (who although is NOT a formal ally of North like the U.S. is of South Korea, but still tends to help North Korean side in the U.N. Security Council) responds in return.  The United Nations will have to take a multilateral approach in order to solve this conflict without escalating it to a war.

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Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton vis...

Image by US Army Korea - IMCOM via Flickr


We have known for some time now, or had good suspicion, that North Korea is selling its nuclear technology to some rogue nations like Syria and Iran.  But  this UN report, which had been delayed for months by China, now publicized the fact with more details and more evidence.

United Nations had imposed its last sanction on North Korea in 2009 when it conducted the test of its nuclear weapons.  However, North Korea had obviously gotten around UN, and imported it through direct air cargo.  With China on the Security Council with a veto power, it is doubtful that the Security Council can do much about it.

The question then is what are we going to do about it?  Is United States going to do something?  What are some of its foreign policy options?  Is it going to impose more of the (rather ineffective) sanctions in attempt to punish North Korea and make it stop exporting?

The Prospect Theory tells us that it is harder to get a country to give up what it already has and or stop what it’s already doing.  What is the prospect of either the US or the UN being able to stop North Korea exporting its nuclear technology…?

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