North Korean threats must be taken more seriously

The recent increase in the severity and number of threats put forth by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has given media site-users ample material for jokes. For example, in a political cartoon from the Los Angeles Times, a comically fat baby-version of Kim Jong Un dressed in a diaper bangs a nuclear missile against the ground. “Give me attention or I’ll blow up Los Angeles!” reads the speech bubble above Kim’s head. However, the military and political tension between North Korea and the countries it has threatened, including the United States, must be considered a legitimate issue.

Written by: Rachel Lew

KJU

It may seem to some people that discussion of this issue is simply a formal gesture that does not imply importance. But what this assumption fails to acknowledge is that discussion of North Korea’s nuclear testing is what brought the information to the public in the first place. As part of the United Nations (UN), the U.S. has a responsibility, if not a moral obligation, to defend its allies. Even if North Korea does not have the ability to attack the continental U.S., it is capable of landing missiles in closer areas, such as Japan, South Korea and U.S. military bases in Hawaii and Guam. According to an article from CNN, written in 2013, “since 2005, two former Defense Intelligence Agency chiefs have raised the possibility” of North Korea “being able to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.”

A desire to lessen international hostilities may play a part in the federal government’s decision to tread lightly about the situation. If the federal government was to openly mock the young dictator’s threats as openly as the majority of the American public has, Kim Jong Un might be angered enough to actually carry out an attack that his country’s resources can sustain. Given the relative nascence of North Korea’s nuclear missile technology, this would likely not be a nuclear strike on the U.S., but a raid on South Korea or other neighboring countries. In the past few decades, North Korea has attacked other countries multiple times by bombing buildings, hijacking a South Korean plane, assassinating the wife of the South Korean president and shelling the South Korean island Yeonpyeong, an attack that killed 45 South Koreans. Clearly, the situation and its potential for loss of lives is not a laughing matter.

Stating or implying that North Korea poses no threat at all to any country is ridiculous. The fact that North Korea is incapable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles does not imply that is incapable of perpetrating other acts of violence. If the country had no power whatsoever, this situation would not be considered an issue. In fact, according to CNN, “the top U.S. commander in the Pacific called repeated North Korean violations…resolutions forbidding the ‘building and testing’ of…missiles and nuclear weapons ‘a clear and direct threat to U.S. national security and regional peace.’”

Currently, the U.S. aims to lessen tensions with North Korea after Kim Jong Un’s threats intensified in response to a UN Security Council vote to tighten sanctions on North Korea. The situation remains a matter of national security and thus should not be mocked. This is not to say that every American should treat Kim Jong Un’s possibly empty words as an extreme threat. However, by poking fun at North Korea, we deride the U.S. government’s efforts to ensure the security of America and other countries.

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