There has been tensions between the United States and North Korea since the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. The United States has been involved in many wars at this point, and the Korean War is one war that is barely mentioned in high school history classes. To North Korea, this war is still very relevant.
The Korean War began when North Korea crossed the 38th parallel, which separates Democratic South Korea from North Korea. This military movement sparked the Cold War, which soon had United States soldiers rushing to South Korea’s aid, while Soviet soldiers rushed to back the North. In 1953, the United States helped South Korea win the war. The Korean War came to a brutal end with five million casualties and a country that is still divided today.
The tension between the United States and North Korea has been prevalent for a long time, but it has slowly been rising since Donald Trump was elected. In the months since, North Korea has performed 14 nuclear tests and fired a total of 21 missiles, according to CNN. On July 4, North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile test, which it claimed could reach anywhere in the world. Before Trump became president, he spoke of a preventative war, which would endanger millions of civilians. This is why it has been avoided by all past presidents.
The most dire question to be addressed is if these missiles can actually reach the United States. According to the New York Times, intelligence claims that they definitely figured out how to miniaturize a bomb, but it is still under debate if the bombs can reach the United States. According to the New Yorker, the intercontinental ballistic missile North Korea tested July 4 can definitely reach the mainland. In response to this news, Hawaii said it would revive the Cold War era sirens to warn the public of a nuclear strike.
How are we as a country trying to avoid war? According to the New York Times, the United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea for disregarding the ban on nuclear weapons testing. Despite years of sanctions, North Korea has illegally been financing their weapons program in a surprisingly well-off economy. According to the New Yorker, Aug. 5, the U.N. Security Council elected some of the strongest sanctions against any country in decades, blocking the sale of coal and iron, which represent a third of North Korea’s exports. In response to this punishment, North Korea threatened to fire four missiles that would land in the Pacific Ocean near Guam.
Trump claims that if the rogue nation “acts unwisely,” the United States will respond with military force or in his words “fire and fury.” On Aug. 11, Trump tweeted, “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump also claims that past presidents did not do enough to deal with the threat of North Korea, even though the threat has never been worse than it is right now.
Photo courtesy of The Atlantic.