#FactOfTheDay 26/09/2017: Tensions culminate between North Korea and the United States of America
“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” – Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.
According to Kim Jun-Un, with this tweet, Donald Trump declared war to North Korea. This happened after his first address to the United Nations last week, in which he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacked the United States or any of its allies. North Korea’s leader considered this as the “most ferocious declaration of war in history”. Ri Yong-ho, the North Korean foreign minister, said that “given the fact that [the threat in the tweet] came from someone who holds the seat of the US presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war”.
Hence, North Korea has indicated it was prepared to respond: “we will have every right to make counter-measures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country”. The North Korean government stressed the US declared war first.
However, government officials from the White House have denied these claims. They consider the insinuation as “absurd”, and have stated that “[their] goal is still the same: [they] continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That’s our focus – doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.” Nonetheless, they claim their right to “fly sorties off the North Korean coast”.
Allies from both sides are also reacting. China, one of North Korea’s sole supporter, stated that “[they] want things to calm down, [because] it’s getting too dangerous and it’s in nobody’s interest”. They reminded the importance of keeping up negotiations, which they consider as the only way to solve the Korean issue: “the alternative is a disaster”.
On the other hand, a NATO exercise off the coast of Scotland led by American forces took place on Monday to practise shooting down nuclear missiles, with troops from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Japan however, another important US ally, stated that “[They] must not give in to North Korean’s threats”, saying more pressure needs to be put on Pyongyang. The country is currently dealing with anticipated elections, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe affirmed that “by gaining a mandate from the people with this election, [he] will forge ahead with strong diplomacy”.
Finally, the South Korean government still has not released a statement regarding the given situation. Although threats are exclusively being made to the United States, due to its history, its geographical position, and political stance (as an ally of the US), South Korea still might be one of the first countries affected by attacks from North Korea, even though almost two weeks ago they were excluded from North Korea’s threats in their statement. South Korea’s main objective is to stay out of a war, which they reaffirmed in a statement before tensions culminated, saying that their “top interest was to ensure that it would never experience the devastation it endured during the Korean War”, according to The Business Insider.
Meanwhile, fear seems to be growing amongst populations: purchase and general demand of war survival kits have been on the rise since the beginning of September.
Carolina Duarte de Jesus
For further information:
“China calls for restraint after North Korea says US ‘declared war’”, Channel NewsAsia, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.channelnewsasia.com
“North Korea excludes threats to South Korea in latest statement, opening door to cooperation: experts”, SBS, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.sbs.com.au
“North Korea’s foreign minister: Trump has declared war on our country”, The Guardian, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.theguardian.com
Donald J. Trump on Twitter, [consulted on 26/09/2017]. http://www.twitter.com
DEARDEN Lizzie, “North Korea: US leads missile interception tests in Scotland in response to nuclear threat”, The Independent, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.independent.co.uk
FRIEDMAN George, “South Korea throws a wrench into the US’s war plans”, Business Insider, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://uk.businessinsider.com
GLADSTONE Rick and SANGER David, “North Korea Says It Has the Right to Shoot Down U.S. Warplanes”, The New York Times, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.nytimes.com
Reuters, “Japanese PM Abe says election won’t distract him from tackling North Korea”, CNBC, 2017, [consulted online on 26/09/2017]. http://www.cnbc.com