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North Korea’s recent underground nuclear device test, followed by a series of short-range missile launches, has put South Korean and American troops on their highest alert level since 2006. Breaking the 1953 truce agreement with its southern neighbor, the North Korean government continues to use intimidation strategies against the allied forces.
BBC news reported, “South Korea has deployed a high-speed patrol boat armed with missiles to its disputed western maritime border with the North. It follows reports that the North has moved a long-range missile to a launch site on the west coast.”
Speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who suffered a stroke last August, is preparing his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to be his successor has prompted journalists to question whether this explains the communist state’s latest aggression tactics.
Though the government shut down its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in February 2007, it began to reassemble it in November the following year—leaving many to ask where North Korea gets its nuclear information.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “The American bomb was conceived by European scientists and built in a consortium with Britain and Canada. The Soviets got their bomb thanks largely to atomic spies, particularly Germany’s Klaus Fuchs. The Chinese nuclear program got its start with Soviet help.
“Britain gave France the secret of the hydrogen bomb, hoping French President Charles de Gaulle would return the favor by admitting the U.K. into the European Economic Community. (He Gallicly refused.) France shared key nuclear technology with Israel and then with Iraq. South Africa got its bombs (since dismantled) with Israeli help. India made illegal use of plutonium from a U.S.-Canadian reactor to build its first bomb. The Chinese lent the design of one of their early atomic bombs to Pakistan, which then gave it to Libya, North Korea and probably Iran.
“Now it’s Pyongyang’s turn to be the link in the nuclear daisy chain.”
A May 28 Associated Press report stated that a U.S.-led initiative of more than 90 nations agreed to stop and inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned weapons.
North Korea called the initiative a “declaration of war,” saying that it opposes its ships being searched. A spokesman for the nation’s army said, “Any hostile act against our peaceful vessels, including search and seizure, will be considered an unpardonable infringement on our sovereignty.” He added, “We will immediately respond with a powerful military strike” (Guardian).
The U.S. has more than 70,000 troops within striking range of North Korea’s missiles.
South Korea reportedly said it is ready to “respond sternly” to any confrontational actions from the North.
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ordered his government to take “calm” measures on the threats, his office said in a statement. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura echoed those remarks and called on North Korea to “refrain from taking actions that would elevate tensions in Asia” (Bloomberg).