North Korea

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  • Can Kim Jong-Un be tamed?

    There will be little legitimacy for a pre-emptive US strike on North Korea unless Pyongyang launches a pre-meditated strike on any nation.

    April 12, 2017

    North Korea’s ‘Chemistry’ with WMDs

    North Korea has blatantly breached the chemical weapons ‘red line’ in the killing of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un in Kuala Lumpur on February 13.

    March 06, 2017

    North Korea: Launching a Satellite to Demonstrate ICBM Capability

    North Korea: Launching a Satellite to Demonstrate ICBM Capability

    North Korea may not have reached the level of expertise to develop an ICBM indigenously. But, in terms of declaration of intent, it has achieved all that it wants.

    February 18, 2016

    The North Korean Nuclear Test: Quest for Deterrence

    The January 6 ‘thermonuclear’ test is the fourth in the series of nuclear tests in North Korea’s consistent quest to attain credible deterrence against the United States.

    January 22, 2016

    North Korea: An Advance Frontier of India’s “Act East”?

    North Korea: An Advance Frontier of India’s “Act East”?

    Recent developments in India-North Korea relations make it an opportune time for India to devise a new approach for its engagement with the Korean Peninsula that will help redefine its Act East policy.

    December 01, 2015

    Yashika Gupta asked: How does North Korea support its military regime input costs along with series of nuclear tests, even while defying sanctions and an economy that barely produces anything?

    Titli Basu replies: North Korea adopted the Byungjin Line in 1962 which essentially articulated the twin policy of simultaneously developing the economy and the national defence capabilities.

    Mahesh Sharma asked: If the US could have diplomatic breakthroughs with both Iran and Cuba, why can’t it have the same with North Korea?

    Kapil Patil replies: North Korea, along with Cuba and Iran, is one of the three countries where the U.S. has been looking for a diplomatic breakthrough. As President Barack Obama enters the last two years of his presidency, he has successfully restored diplomatic relations with Cuba after its more than 50 years of isolation. The restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba was mainly driven by the policy realism that isolationist policies have become ineffective with the end of the Cold War and that there is a need to diplomatically engage the Island country.

    Understanding the Nuclear Aspirations and Behaviour of North Korea and Iran

    This article explores the drivers of North Korea and Iran’s nuclear aspirations and behaviour by employing the theoretical prisms of ‘security dilemma’, ‘regional security complex’ (RSC) and ‘social constructivism’. It argues that ideational values and interests are shaping Iranian and North Korean nuclear aspirations and behaviour. Conversely, the absence of positive inter-subjective understanding of the US and its allies regarding Iran and North Korea is influencing their nuclear non-proliferation policy towards these states.

    September 2014

    C.K. Rajesh asked: What could be the global impact of nuclearisation of North Korea and Iran?

    Reshmi Kazi replies: North Korea has pursued a clandestine nuclear weapons programme for a long time, thereby violating its commitment to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have a significant bearing on the regional dynamics in the Korean Peninsula. Japan has already contemplated revisiting its nuclear option. It has also reopened the debate in Seoul over its own nuclear programme. North Korea’s nuclear pursuit can potentially unleash an arms race in the Northeast Asia region.

    Abhishek Tyagi asked: Why is the Security Council not taking any military action against the DPRK under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, despite continued testing of nuclear weapons by the latter?

    Pranamita Baruah replies: After the latest round of nuclear tests by North Korea in February 2013, many seemed to argue that the political realities in the Korean Peninsula dictate that an overt military strike-even one limited to cruise missiles-should be on the cards. However, that cannot be the case as even the most restrained attack could have devastating implications for the East Asian security.

    Most of the US military planners too seem to be of the view that even the notion of limited strikes against the hermit kingdom is fraught with potential escalations. It could destabilise the country and further aggravate the tension in the whole of East Asian region. Moreover, Pyongyang might treat such an attack as a part of Washington’s attempt to bring about a regime change in North Korea. This cannot be acceptable to the current regime as the Kim family, since the time of Kim Jong-il, has used the perceived threat from the US and its allies in the region to legitimise its dynastic rule over North Korea. So, in the interest of keeping the current regime intact, Kim Jong-un and his advisors in such circumstances could retaliate by a military action of their own.

    Though North Korea’s claim of having missiles capable of striking at the US mainland is still doubtful, one cannot really deny that the North, with reportedly 10,000 fortified artillery pieces trained on Seoul, could easily target South Korea. Most importantly, North Korea has more than 100 No-Dong missiles that can reach deep into South Korea as well as Japan. Under such circumstances, both South Korea and Japan will not support any military action against the North. In fact, North Korea’s erstwhile ally Russia and current benefactor China too will oppose such an action. Though after the latest provocation both Moscow and Beijing had strongly criticised Pyongyang, they will, for the time being, continue to insist on diplomatically engaging with North Korea. Beijing’s recent effort towards resuming the Six Party Talks (SPT) clearly demonstrates its support for continued diplomatic engagement.

    If the UN is to take a military action against North Korea, then it will require full support from its Security Council. However, this may not be possible if two of the permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China, decide to veto it.

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