With missile test launches being conducted more frequently than ever before and the strength of the explosions growing, North Korea’s nuclear threat is gaining significant strength. But how did it come to this fiery mess?
Recently North Korea has been making news headlines for its threats to the US, however, the history of this conflict dates back many decades.
The US and NK have been lifelong enemies, after the US backed South Korea’s development following the Korean War. A connection was consequently formed between Russia and NK.
A defence treaty was established between the US and SK, which essentially meant that the countries would have each other’s support if conflict arose.
Over the years, NK has signed many agreements and treaties that would see it essentially shutdown its nuclear program in exchange for aid and economic cooperation from other countries. However, time and time again the country has secretly broken promises, only to be exposed on a global scale.
In 2003, NK declared it had readily available access to nuclear weapons, and only three years later the censored country carried out its first “safe and successful nuclear test” (according to state-run television news). This prompted swift action from the UN Security Council with a resolution passing that demanded NK suspend its nuclear program. The country agreed to close its main nuclear reactor for an aid package worth $400 million, however, the country failed to meet its deadline to disable its weapons by the end of the year.
In 2009 and 2013, more nuclear tests were conducted that prompted new UN sanctions. The tests in 2013 were significant as they were the first under young leader Kim Jong-Un.
In 2015, Jong-Un was pictured with a miniaturized nuclear warhead (according to state-run media), and the leader claimed that his country had developed a hydrogen bomb (a step forward from the atomic bomb). A strong consensus was formed amongst the international community that NK has successfully constructed a nuclear weapon that is small enough to fit on a missile. In September 2015, the fifth, and most powerful, nuclear test was conducted – it measured 5.3 on the Richter scale!
In January 2016, NK claimed it had conducted a higher level nuclear warhead test. The UN imposed greater sanctions on NK against further nuclear development, however Jong-un still had his finger firmly on the nuclear button. While missiles were being launched into the sea, NK’s leader launched a threat against the US and South Korea warning of a nuclear strike of justice.
Jong-un’s tight regime increased its rate of missile tests in March this year – launching five ballistic missiles in two launches. The following month, NK fired ballistic missiles into the waters off its east coast, saying it was practice for targeting US bases in Japan.
In July this year, tension increased drastically with NK successfully launching its first intercontinental ballistic missile test (which can hit Alaska). US President Donald Trump led the condemnation of the action. Things got even more heated when NK fired a second intercontinental ballistic missile that showed clearly that US cities are within the target range.
Both Russia and China supported recent UN sanctions on NK that were championed by the US, and will have a large impact on the country’s trade. NK has retaliated saying it is seriously reviewing a plan to strike Guam with missiles. Donald Trump fired back saying that NK will be met with “fire and fury” if NK threatens action against the US or one of its allies.