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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, is a communist nation that was created in 1948 and ruled by Kim II-sung. Before North Korea and South Korea became their own countries, Korea was one full country under Japanese control. When Japan was defeated in World War II, they lost the nation of Korea and it was later taken over by both the United States and the Soviet Union. This ruling did not work out well because the Soviet Union was a communist country and the United States is a democratic country. Since the United States and the Soviet Union both disagreed on how to rule a country, they split Korea in half, by the 38th parallel. The Soviet Union took over the northern part of Korea (now North Korea) and influenced the ideas of communism and the United States took over the southern part of Korea (now South Korea) and spread the idea of democracy. Later, in 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea because they wanted to make all of Korea a communist country, and this sparked the Korean War. The Korean War was a bloody three year battle that eventually ended with an armistice at the 38th parallel.
Because only an armistice was signed, the Korean War has technically not ended. The North Korean nuclear threat towards countries can be explained through the theories of international relations, such as Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism, as they can predict how the conflicts can be avoidable or unavoidable. North Korea is a country that mainly focuses on the ideas of Realism.
Realism is a practical orientation that relies mainly on facts, and considers things as they are and not on what they might or should be. In North Korea, they believe that most issues should be resolved with some sort of conflict. Some reasons that North Korea might want to solve issues with conflict are that they do not trust other countries and they believe they could win a battle with their nuclear weapons. The nuclear threats that North Korea has on many countries is creating higher tensions with them and it is causing those countries to worry.
For example, the threats given to the United States by North Korea is causing President Trump wanting to fire back with nuclear weapons. Because of this issue, President Trump said, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen…
he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” (http://www.
cnn.com/2017/08/29/politics/north-korea-trump-kim-jong-un-rhetoric/index.html). This quote explains that President Trump has no hesitation with firing nuclear missiles towards North Korea if they start a nuclear war with the United States. From a realists perspective, there are reasons, however, that North Korea should not be in conflict with other countries. First, North Korea is too weak (in terms of conventional capability) and they will not survive when their military and supplies are destroyed.
North Korea focuses most of their money and time on their military and if their military is destroyed, they will not be able to stand much longer. Another reason on why North Korea should not have nuclear conflicts with other countries, especially the United States, is because of nuclear deterrence. For example, in the article “Don’t Panic About North Korea” by Fred Kaplan, he says, “We have thousands of nuclear weapons—stationed worldwide, on land, at sea, and in the air—and there’s no way Kim could launch an attack on us without facing an annihilating retaliatory blow.” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/09.
html). In this quote, Kaplan explains that North Korea does not have a chance of surviving a nuclear attack if they start a nuclear war with the United States because of the fact that the U.S. is more prepared. Liberalism is a more difficult theory to apply with North Korea. “Liberalism is a theoretical approach that argues for human rights, parliamentary democracy, and free trade” (Introduction to Global Politics, Steven L.
Lamy, 393). North Korea is more of an anarchist state and they believe that conflict is endemic in the international system. However, a reason for conflict for North Korea, from a liberalists perspective, is to create a stronger economic interdependence and relationship with China and Russia.
For example, if North Korea went to war with another country, China and Russia will support them in battle and that will create a stronger tie with each other. One of the main ideas of liberalism is to avoid any type of war or conflict and to solve tough situations peacefully. For North Korea, reasons they should go against conflict, from a liberalists point of view, are so they keep their economic interdependence and cooperation with China.
“China provides North Korea with most of its food and energy supplies and accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea’s total trade volume” (https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/china-north-korea-relationship). If North Korea attacked the United States, however, China will support North Korea in the war because of their alliance with one another and that would cause the relationship with the United States and China to diminish. China and the United States do not want this situation to occur because they have one of the strongest trading ties in the world.
Even though China and the United States might not always have the same views, they cannot afford to be enemies and they have to establish a trade interdependence to keep a stable economy. If they became enemies, it would be a lose lose situation for both of these countries because each one of their economies will crash. North Korea highly depends on China for different resources to survive and if North Korea loses ties with China, their country will eventually start to crumble. The United States is willing to have a good relationship and give aid to North Korea, but they will not do so until North Korea solves their problems with South Korea and they stop their nuclear weapons program. This type of situation is very unlikely to happen because North Korea puts pride into the nuclear weapons they create. They will not give up their nuclear weapons unless they receive security assurance, economic and political assistance, and are seen as an independent state for its nuclear program.
Constructivism is also a theory that can be seen in relation to North Korea. “Constructivism focuses on ideas of norms, the development of structures, the relationship between actors and said structures” (InternationalRelations.org).
Some reasons that North Korea might want to solve issues with conflict, from a constructivists standpoint, are that there are conflicting norms with other states and those states are seen as perceived threats towards their country. For instance, North Korea does not want to lose their country to another country who has different beliefs. From a constructivists perspective, there is a reason North Korea should avoid conflict, and that is to keep the legitimacy of their country. North Korea and South Korea, today, is a good example for this situation. South Korea is using democratic norms and diplomacy in order to decrease tensions with North Korea. This tactic they are using with North Korea is working because the current conflict they have with each other has not escalated to war. In my opinion, I see the threats and acts of North Korea by Kim Jong-un to be very scary.
Kim Jong-un is technically still a new leader to North Korea, so it is hard to predict the things he might do. I read articles all the time about how North Korea threatens to bomb the United States again because of the comments President Donald Trump is saying to them. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un keep talking bad about each other and I feel that is causing more tension between both countries. I also read articles of how North Korea’s army is getting stronger day by day and they are creating more efficient nuclear missiles. For example, in an article by BBC news they said, “On 28 July 2017, North Korea carried out its second and latest ICBM test, with the missile reaching an altitude of about 3,000km and landing in the sea off Japan” (http://www.
bbc.com/news/world-asia-17399847). This information is scary because it explains ow North Korea are making missiles at a quick rate. I watch videos of what happens inside of North Korea as well, and it is weird to see these people celebrating their past leaders and the new nuclear weapons that were created. North Korea is a scary country and I would never want to travel there. Today, North Korea is a country that many countries in the world fear. They have threatened to bomb many countries, such as the United States, and they have a nuclear weapon system that is still growing to this day.
North Korea keeps “improving” their nuclear weapons system and they are expanding the range of the nuclear missiles to go even further. The North Korean nuclear threat towards countries can be explained through the theories of international relations, such as Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism, as they can predict how the conflicts can be avoidable or unavoidable.