North Korea vs United States: Nuke gets into heads, for now limited to ‘war of words’

North Korea and the United States have been in a bitter relationship since several years with both countries periodically issuing threats to launch major attacks which can have massive global impact. And with the tension steadily escalating in recent times, the world is at the verge to witness a possible nuclear war. But before the real physical war, a fiery war of words continues between the two countries.

United States President Donald Trump, in a strong statement on August 8, threatened to unleash ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’ against Kim Jong Un’s regime after North Korea vowed to retaliate “thousands of times” for new U.N. sanctions. Hours after Trump’s comments, Pyongyang claimed that it was ‘examining’ a strike on the US forces on the Pacific island of Guam. But in a befitting reply, the US Pacific Air Forces tweeted a picture of two B-1 bombers flanked by two fighter jets with the message, “ready to #fighttonight”.

However, yet an open conflict still remained prevented. If North Korea attacks the United States first, the response from US and its allies might result in the end of Kim Jong Un’s regime while on the other hand if United States attack first, N Korea has enough firepower to devastate its nearby countries, claiming thousands of lives. The Washington Post reported that Pyongyang might already have fitted a warhead in ballistic missiles and starting a nuclear war never satisfies even a basic cost-benefit analysis.

On August 5, the United States Security council passed Resolution 2371 which targets North korea’s foreign earnings worth $3 billion . US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called it “the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.”

Later, warning his North Korean counterpart Ring Yong Ho, at a regional conference in Manila , Chinese Foreign Minister Eang Yi said, “Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke the international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests.”

However, the Chinese co-operation doesn’t come for free as in exchange for Pyongyang’s freeze in nuclear program, China would ask the United States to withdraw THAAD anti-missile batteries withdrawn from South Korea. Also China would never want the end of Kim’d regime as that might result in the massive migration of floods of refugees in  China, and also might welcome the US troops at the doorstep.

The hope is that the Kim Jong Un ruled country returns talks with South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and US and discuss on denuclearization.

On August 1, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “We do not seek a regime change [in Pyongyang, We do not seek the collapse of the regime.” Kim is unlikely to buy this. But unless he returns to talks, the world has little choice but to accept North Korea as the world’s newest nuclear power–or face the calamity of “fire and fury.”

By: Priyam Mukhopadhyay

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