Over the past year North Korea has rocketed through the headlines with reports of its growing missile and nuclear program. This situation has brought us closer to armed conflict in the Koreas since the end of the Korean war in 1953.
In response to North Korea’s actions, nations of the world have come together within the United Nations to place sanctions on North Korea. According to CNN, the latest United Nations sanctions on Sept. 11 were a reduction of oil exports to North Korea, termination of textile exports from North Korea, termination of overseas labor contracts, reduction of smuggling efforts and the sanctioning of North Korean government bodies.
“Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea, and today the Security Council is saying that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves,” said United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in a CNN article.
On Sept. 21, President Trump announced additional sanctions on North Korea by the United States,. According to the BBC, the United States’ latest sanctions include the ability for the United States’ Department of the Treasury to target firms and financial institutions conducting business with North Korea.
According to Reuters, European Union officials are planning to draft more sanctions and restrictions on North Korea.
However, the question remains, will these sanctions actually accomplish anything?
My answer is no, not unless imposed sanctions are stronger.
CNN indicated that a full oil import ban and sanctions on North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un were dropped before the last United Nations’ security council meeting. This may have been a possible attempt to gain China’s and Russia’s support.
However, evidence has shown that North Korea refuses to submit to the United Nations. The nation continues with their nuclear tests and missile launches, some flying dangerously close to United States’ allies in the Far East such as Japan.
Nevertheless, it is only a matter of time before Kim Jong Un goes too far and prompts United States military action. In the news, President Trump frequently mentions that China has the most responsibility for North Korea as their only ally.
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a Washington Post article.
China has responded against its ally by stationing an unknown number of troops and building up border defences according to CNN.
This could also be protection against a massive flow of refugees in the case of war. Additionally, in a July report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, North Korea was determined to be close to a state of famine which could also increase a massive amount of refugees desperate for food.
War should always be an option of last resort, especially one that could end up being nuclear.
Harry J. Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for National Interest said, that up to 8 million people have the possibility to lose their lives. Although the United States has many military options on the table, it is determined to let North Korea make the first move.
The United States and the rest of the world must realize that the world cannot afford another nuclear power especially in the form of a rogue state like North Korea. The country would undoubtedly give technology to America’s enemies such as Iran.
The United States should give North Korea an ultimatum and threaten to shoot down a missile with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system. The sanctions must be brutal and completely isolate North Korea from the rest of the world, forcing them to choose between nuclear weapons or their citizens.
Should it come to military action, the world must be decisive and swift to utterly destroy the North Korean Army and neutralize the Korean leadership and nuclear weapons. It will take immense cooperation with China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
For the sake of the balance of power and the future of the world, we must not let today’s decisions be tomorrow’s failures.