North Korea Tests Nuclear Device

Yesterday, North Korea tested a nuclear device in defiance of international efforts to halt the communist state’s nuclear weapons program.  For many years, the US, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia have tried many different measures to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, including offers of diplomatic recognition, a permanent peace treaty, economic benefits and economic sanctions.  All of these efforts have failed.  And given the fact that airstrikes against the North’s nuclear facilities pose a serious risk of igniting a major military conflict in the region, the US appears to have no options left and therefore must accept the fact that North Korea will likely remain a nuclear state.

In response to the test, the Obama administration is trying to strengthen the Proliferation Security Initiative, an effort to intercept shipments of items related to unconventional weapons at sea, a program which was initiated by the Bush administration in 2003.  However, it appears that North Korea already has enough materials to develop atomic bombs.

At this point, the best thing the US can do is reassure South Korea and Japan, two important allies, that America will defend them if they are attacked by North Korea.  Doing so might prevent Japan from developing nuclear weapons of its own, an act which could provoke an arms race between Japan and China and destabilize East Asia.

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