By Khurram Sajjad & Waqas Shabbir.
North Korea has emerged as an outstanding threat to not only the states of the Pacific region but the United States as well. Historically, Pacific states have been prone to natural calamities due to the frequent movement of tectonic plates, occurrence of earthquakes, cyclones and hurricanes. The Pacific ring of fire is ever exposed to the naturally-occurring phenomena, but the man-made activities have exacerbated the fire into a massive conflagration.
North Korean worst situation is basically caused by the failure on an epic scale where since 1940 handful of the communist put its people in the quagmire of uncertainty. This communist regime failed to set up foundation of institutions in the country that could object on such inhumanly & outlandish activities threatening the whole planet. The extractive institutions of North Korea have certainly made the life of masses exceedingly difficult and miserable.
The issue of North Korea was also quite prevalent during the war on terror. In the state of the Union address, President Bush had stated that Iran and Iraq “constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world”. However, the issue of Iran was resolved through the success of Nuclear Deal of 2015, while the North Korean issue was set aside irresponsibly.
By taking a fleeting look at history, the US policy of ‘Isolationism’ was terminated before the eruption of World War II, to creep eastward and westward in direction for hegemonic. The troops of US began patrolling across Pacific and Atlantic oceans with full of immunity at hand. The US bombed nuclear weapons in Japan to set an earmark of unipolarity, despite existence of the colonial powers. There was no contemplation of the US to end World War II at this juncture. It was rather meant that the world should witness American might as an explosive powerhouse destined to rule and ride on the roller coaster. The extension of the myth of Cold war between the US and the Soviet Union by the US was aimed at keeping itself in the air worldwide, let alone there were the differences on political ideologies; Capitalism and Communism. It was due to the covert desire of retention of the long-lasting influence. Therefore in the presence of lasting impact of unipolarity, multipolarity has failed to supersede it despite the G-4 states.
Moreover, the much debated Obama’s policy of Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) was discarded after the transition of US administration; even though it was viewed to set a noose against North Korea for preventing its imperialism.
However today, the world has realized that North Korea has become a looming threat to serenity of the world. It is undoubtedly reckoned as a rogue state. Whatever the threatening demonstration of NK is basically the reflection of its evil-side looks all in open without fearing. Its nuclear stockpile is augmenting very fast. It seems as the NK wants wide oceanic space in the Pacific region to play with its missiles, since there is a continental crust on the western side. It finds eastern and southern sides to test its ballistic missiles— challenging the sovereignty of South Korea and Japan through its military capability. With the rise of North Korean nuclear threat, China and Russia succeeded to keep the US engaged once again for ensuring implementation of their economic policies in accordance with their vested interests. Both tend to get an access to the European region. China has a plan of Silk Road, while Russia tends to lay gas pipeline to reap more economic benefits. On the other hand, in order to foil Russian policy, the US is also poised to dispense Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe.
Recently, North Korea carried out a ballistic missile directly over Japan that prompted the government in Tokyo to warn residents in its path to take cover. The missile flew over the northern island of Hokkaido and landed harmlessly in the sea, after a flight of nearly 1,700 miles.
Japan came under acute depression in its wake which halted several bullet trains. The government spoke of the missile — only the third North Korean projectile to fly over the country since 1998 — in unusually dire terms. Only twice before has the North fired projectiles over Japanese territory: once in 1998, stimulating an effusive diplomatic crisis in Asia, and once again at the beginning of the Obama administration in 2009. In both the cases, the North Korea said the rockets were carrying satellites into orbit. However in this case, the North Korea remains silent.
On a reactionary tone, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe said, “North Korea’s reckless action of launching a missile that passed over Japan is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat.”
He later told reporters that he had spoken by telephone with President Trump. “Japan and the U.S. stances are completely matched,” he said, adding that they discussed ways to tighten pressure on North Korea.
Even though a few days back, at a political rally in Arizona, Mr. Trump used the term ‘fire and fury’ on North Korea if it endangered the United States. It is being assessed that this might be the reaction of NK.
South Korean foreign minister also broke the silence saying “North Korea must come to the negotiating table, realizing that denuclearization is its only way to ensure its security and economic development.”
So much so, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop condemned the missile test of North Korea by saying “North Korea is in breach of numerous UN Security Council resolutions and is acting illegally.” She also added,”firing a missile over the territory of another nation was a “provocative, dangerous, destabilising and threatening act”.
In the light of the above facts, it seems that the situation in Pacific region is going to get worsened with the passage of time. Most notably, it is not about the threat of any militant group but by the state in general, the nuclear state in particular. Nevertheless, the US has not asked China to be on the same page against North Korea or not either — resuscitating the threat of Al-Qaeda whereupon Pakistan was asked to get outsourced foreign policy of the US.
Similarly, it is high time to take immediate action by the global elite not against the North Korean state but the regime of Kim Jong-un and his coterie. The despotic rule of NK needs to be ended at the earliest. If dialogue is no more of an option, then the charter of United Nations Organization should be invoked to counter the threat, which was historically misinterpreted or manipulated by the bigwigs. Likewise, the US should step forward to initiate measures at the UNSC rather than waiting for any attack at its allied states of Pacific region. Even a single delay could cost the planet without any doubt.
Khurram Sajjad is an Independent journalist and political commentator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waqas Shabbir is a Derby Business School graduate in Finance, currently working as a freelance writer having interest in South Asian and European economics. He previously worked as a study advisor at University of Derby