By Dr. Abdul Ruff
World is passing through an era or age of uncertainty as most countries have amassed high powered missiles and thousands of WMD, threatening the humanity more than ever before.
Notwithstanding opposition by US led western powers, North Korea keeps firing 21 ballistic missiles and conducted two nuclear tests this year alone, most recently on September 09. North Korea’s neighbors South Korea and Japan condemn the launch of missiles by North Korea and complain to the UN for stern action to maintain stability of the region.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, told the annual United Nations General Assembly on September 21 that the world must respond to North Korea’s latest missile and nuclear tests in an “entirely distinct” way. “The threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now,” Abe said
North Korea has been one of the ideological” targets of USA that refuse to fall in line with US line of operations globally and which does not allow any nation disobeying the super power and its capitalist-imperialist brand politics.
The comments seem largely in line with statements from American officials, but they reflect a particularly contentious history between the Japanese and North Koreans – a history that influences Abe’s current push to amend the Japanese constitution.
North Korea has ramped up its nuclear tests in recent weeks, deeply concerning international military experts and activists alike. The nation conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 9. Last week, the United States, Japan and South Korea condemned the new North Korea’s test and without specifying the exact punitive measures, called for tough new measures to further isolate the communist state.
Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers said the North Korean test earlier this month would not go unanswered.
While past weaponry tests have been mired in technical failure, North Korea has shown steady improvement more recently. A missile launched from a submarine in August prompted greater concern from South Korea and Japan, which would both be within range of submarine-based missiles, which are more difficult to detect. “North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are not imaginary threats any longer, but they are now becoming real threats,” South Korea President Park Geun-hye said after the submarine launch. “Those threats are coming closer each moment.”
The “abduction” of Japanese citizens by North Koreans is an issue that irritates Tokyo leaders but the missile firings have clearly alarmed Japan for which the North Korean nuclear threats have reinvigorated public attention to an issue that preoccupies the Japanese political agenda. In 2002, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Il officially acknowledged that Pyongyang had abducted Japanese citizens. That “abduction issue” remains unresolved. “In the eyes of many, North Korea’s military campaigns and kidnappings have epitomized the vulnerability and illegitimacy of Japan’s post-war institutions, including its pacifist constitution and immobile security forces. Consequently, for advocates of a ‘strong nation’ – represented by Abe Shinzō who has pledged to ‘take Japan back’ by liberating it from the constraints of its pacifist regime – North Korea has acquired a key place in renegotiating Japan’s security identity.
American strategists like Michael Green, an Asia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Security Studies in Washington say that North Korea is a country where no president has handed to his successor a better situation on North Korea than they inherited, because North Korea just keeps blowing through every agreement. In July, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party gained a two-thirds “super majority” in the legislature’s upper house, opening the door to revise the constitution, including Article 9, which states, “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Many say that reforming the constitution is Abe’s lifelong political mission.
The USA flew supersonic bombers over South Korea in a show of force following North Korea’s most recent bout of tests. The move is a show of support for South Korea, which has no nuclear weapons of its own and depends on an American “nuclear umbrella” to keep its northern neighbors at bay. Additionally, the White House and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang have agreed to step up cooperation in the UN Security Council and law enforcement, with discussion of possible UN sanctions in response to the tests.
China, North Korea’s main ally, has also been angered by the tests, but it has called for ”talk”, while others in the international community would prefer action. Keqiang told the General Assembly on Wednesday that countries must pursue disarmament while seeking a solution through dialogue. Chinese and American officials have collaborated, meanwhile, to take action against companies on the Chinese-North Korean border believed to bepeddling materials for the nuclear program.
The Asian Institute for Policy Studies based in Seoul and C4ADS based in Washington said distinguishing legal business activity from illicit trade is particularly difficult in the North Korean context. “The regime’s control over the economy has meant that revenue from even the most basic licit business dealings can be diverted to support illicit programs, including nuclear and ballistic missile development,” the report states. “Going after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s alternative income sources is likely to be the surest means for the international community to coerce the Kim Jong-un regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons program,” the report concludes. “Getting there, however, will require significantly expanded efforts to continually investigate, monitor, and act against DPRK entities evading sanctions.”
Meanwhile, reports say South Korea has a killer plan to fight off its northern neighbor’s nukes. The Asian nation’s troops have a special strategy to assassinate North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un if they feel threatened by his nuclear weapons, officials said. “Yes, we do have such a plan,” South Korean defense minister Han Min-koo said Wednesday when directly asked if there’s a military unit ready to kill the dictator. According to CNN, South Korea has a general idea and plan to use precision missile capabilities to target the enemy’s facilities in major areas as well as eliminating the enemy’s leadership.
The USA on Sept 21 flew a pair of supersonic bombers over ally South Korea for the second time in as many weeks in a show of force following North Korea’s latest nuclear test earlier this month. Such flyovers are common when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Koreau War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The USA also flew two B-1B bombers over South Korea on Sept. 13.
North Korea’s foreign minister condemned White House on Friday for flying US supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week and vowed his country will strengthen its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. In a defiant speech before the UN General Assembly, Ri Yong-ho said the Korean Peninsula “has now been turned into the world’s most dangerous hot spot which can even ignite the outbreak of a nuclear war.” He blamed the USA and “its hostile policy” against his country.
The B-1B bombers the US military flew over South Korea earlier this week and crossed the demarcation line separating the two Koreas. The US military has said at least one of two supersonic bombers that it flew over South Korea approached the border with the North Korea, an unusual occurrence in the world’s most heavily fortified border. Commander Dave Benham, US Pacific Command spokesman, said on Friday that the aircraft remained in South Korean airspace and “did not at any time cross the military demarcation line between North and South Korea.”
The US flyover was the second in as many weeks and came two weeks after North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test. The United States will have to face tremendous consequences beyond imagination.” Benham said the North “will continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality in order to defend the dignity and right to existence and safeguard genuine peace vis-a-vis the increased nuclear war threat of the United States.”
North Korea’s recent nuclear test, along with recent ballistic missile launches, have deepened concerns that it is moving closer toward obtaining the ability to put nuclear warheads on a variety of its ballistic missiles.
Speaking at a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers Friday, US secretary of state John Kerry said that every country has a responsibility to vigorously enforce UN Security Council resolutions to ensure North Korea “pays a price for its dangerous actions.” Kerry also vowed that the United States would defend its own citizens against the North Korean threat and honor its security commitments to its allies.
Ri spoke days after the US, Japan and South Korea met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly gathering to discuss ways to force North Korea to comply with the UN resolutions, which prohibit Pyongyang from conducting nuclear and missile tests. The three countries discussed work in the Security Council to tighten the sanctions and the possibility of taking measures of their own to restrict revenue sources for the North’s missile and nuclear programs. Ri dismissed the Security Council resolutions as unfair. North Korea “had no other choice but to go nuclear inevitably after it has done everything possible to defend the national security from the constant nuclear threats from the United States,” he said.