Despite Decades of False Alarm, North Korea is No Joke


Wayne Chen, Contributing Writer

Ever since the demilitarized border split the Korean peninsula into two halves, jitters of war threats about how South Korea and the United States will be completely demolished with different firing weapons have come out of North Korea. South Korea, the North’s immediate, American-leaning neighbor, has grown increasingly nonchalant over the years. A recent street interview conducted by BuzzFeed News in Seoul shows that South Korean millennials could not care less about North Korea’s constant spew of messages. Yet, no matter how much people struggle to take North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump seriously, the threat this time around cannot be ignored, and the slightest strategic mistake will lead to a serious catastrophe.

Over the course of the Cold War, threats from countries considerably more threatening than North Korea — namely, the Soviet Union — caused much larger frenzies in the U.S. Now that North Korea has become one of the countries in the axis of hard core communism, it touts its nuclear ability frequently and shows an unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the world to achieve a peaceful solution. Kim is seen internationally as an emotionally unstable dictator who is prone to making even more irrational decisions than his late father. The level of danger Kim’s regime entails cannot therefore be undermined.

Over the first five years of Kim’s term as the Supreme Leader of North Korea, former President Barack Obama averted any direct clash between North Korea and the U.S., keeping the situation somewhat in control. Obama also took action by doing rational things, such as imposing a sanction on North Korea’s coal export. Yet President Donald Trump seemed to make statements that are even more threatening than what North Korea had used, including but not limited to meeting the country with fire and fury, as well as claiming North Korea will not exist for long. His strategy, dubbed by some as the madman theory, seemed to work for a while; there were a few days of relative silence after North Korea’s threat to attack Guam eventually died down. But good times never last, and the threat became even more imminent lately as North Korea took the U.S.’s message as a declaration of war.

We are no longer talking about angry tweets and baseless threats — with its alleged advanced nuclear weapons, North Korea is now capable of setting not just Seoul but even North America on fire. A country that has gone rogue and abandoned its promises many times in the past knows just about no boundaries and should not be dealt with lightheartedly with what can only be described as Trump’s oral diplomacy. Rather than giving the situation the cold shoulder like we always have, we need to take the situation more seriously since North Korea might very well be on its track to make actual moves — such as testing an above-ground nuclear bomb — and putting the entire world in danger.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Wayne Chen at [email protected].