The North Korean Problem Is Now A Threat That Cannot Be Ignored


Michael McGrady Director of McGrady Policy Research
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There is something dark at work in Pyongyang. That something is clearly a blatant disregard for ensuring international security. Let’s be honest, this was pretty apparent, but with the recent ballistic missile test launches that dropped junk in sovereign Japanese waters is an international threat at its finest.

One thing we need to accept is that the North Korean government has an advantage that is unprecedented in the geopolitical climate we currently see ourselves in. That very advantage is the People Republic of China’s (PRC) unwavering support of the country through joint trade agreements and mutual security. And, as of late, China’s support for the Hermit Kingdom through recent international security fiascos reaffirms the county’s commitment to the rogue state.

Many pundits and academics covering North Korea have called for the United States to adopt stances on North Korea that hold China even more accountable for its neighbors warmongering. These ranks, included myself in the very pages of The Daily Caller, asking the federal stance on North Korea to be a bilateral one for diplomacy. Sadly, though, diplomacy can run its course as it nearly has in this specific scenario.

As the situation in on Korean peninsula continues to deteriorate, American leaders, including President Donald Trump, must reaffirm a stronger commitment to the Republic of Korea (the South) and the region while simultaneously reaffirming that any actions taken are targeted at the North Korean government, not the people.

Not too long ago, the PRC supported measures to prevent the importing of coal products from the North which cuts off a major economic life support. Regardless of that, I feel even though the Chinese government still maintains the best foreign relationship with North Korea. The missile tests this time around present a different approach Kim Jong-Un’s government has taken. The particular approach is one that signifies independence from Beijing puppet masters and serves as a statement challenging not only the West but the PRC.

North Korea wishes to be the next world super-power with nukes in their tool box. In doing so is an overt flip off to the entire international community creating a precarious foreign policy climate. Enough is enough, though. The United States government needs to take a stand with regional partners to show a real military presence in the region.

Though, I still endorse the functions of diplomacy and fostering an environment that is ripe for negotiation. A multi-faceted approach to disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and accountable divestment of centralizing power is needed. Yet, a military show of force needs to be, equally, backed and leveraged in the same capacity.

The United Nation’s stay-behind forces in the South and no hard-lining action on China isn’t enough, anymore. The time for action is now before too little is done too late.