By Mehran Iqbal.
The US has dispatched its carrier strike warships to the Korean peninsula, after its joint military exercise with South Korea. North Korean ballistic missile test is considered as a threat to not only South Korea but also to the region. To counter such threat, the US moved its carrier ships towards Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, North Korea considers this as an act of “reckless aggression”. North Korea has been under the UN sanctions for conducting high range missile tests. But as per the reports, North Korea is establishing inter-continental ballistic missiles with its range that could reach to the US named Taepodon 2. Presently, North Korea has an operational missile with the range of 2000 km named Taepodong 1. Thus, President Trump said North Korea is a threat to the people of the US and its allies in the region.
In second week of April 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping met the US President Trump. After meeting, according to the US President, both countries shared their views regarding North Korea. Later on in his tweet, Trump said that China was aware of the danger and agreed that an action must be taken to stop it. China itself deployed its 150,000 troops on Yalu River near North Korean border so that the army could help the refugees and should be ready in case of pre-emptive attack by the US. North Korean economic lifeline is its trade with China but this time China has also announced that it would cut-off all its trade with North Korea, if it keeps testing weapons that are threat to the region.
North Korea cares less about the USS Carl Vinson (carrier ship), it gave a warning to the US of Nuclear strike on ship, if the US did not move its ship away from Korean peninsula.
The US, Japan, and South Korea wish to meet soon to discuss the future strategies. South Korea is an ally of the US and both states are in the “Mutual Defense Treaty”. But the nuclear umbrella of the US is not providing protection to South Korea any more from the aggression of North Korea as earlier a South Korean ship sank and when it was investigated the results showed that it was a torpedo attack by North Korean submarine as per the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report.
In the current scenario, North Korea cares less about the USS Carl Vinson (carrier ship) as in response it gave a warning to the US of Nuclear strike on ship, if the US did not move its ship away from Korean peninsula. According to the statement provided by the officials of North Korea, the nuclear attack will be based on North Korean self-defense as a pre-emptive strike not as a nuclear aggression. While, the US does not seem serious about taking this warning as according to President Trump, North Korea is looking for trouble. The US President is looking forward towards China to help but if this does not happen, the US is not stepping back. In a recent tweet, President Trump has said that if China helps, it would be great otherwise the US will resolve this problem unilaterally. Trump also said to defense authorities to get ready to deal with nuclear attack alone. Statements from the US and North Korea are very harsh and focused. None of state is stepping back and nuclear deterrence is failing in this situation.
Let’s have a look on what could be the purpose of North Korea for acquisition of nuclear weapons. North Korea had conducted nuclear tests back in 2006 for its survival against any kind of aggression. But till 2017, it has been developing its long range missiles. According to North Koreans, they are willing to have compliance with the IAEA safeguards on their nuclear program only if the US stops its regime changing operations in world and sign a permanent peace treaty with North Korea (as per NK*News.org). Now the question arises that does North Korea have to establish nuclear weapons just to sign a peace treaty with the US. No doubt, North Korea wants to be superior in any negotiations with the US in future. Till now, the US has overthrown 57 regimes around the world and none of them really had nuclear weapons. Although the US has world’s best army with the latest technology but in this case, North Korea is supposed to have nuclear weapons that have the capability to struck havoc in the region and beyond.
Mehran Ibqal is Researcher at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.