North Korea continues nuclear testing

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Danielle Stoecker, Staff Writer

North Korea has continued to go through with their nuclear test, despite the fact that one of their only allies, China, seems to be getting more fed up with their actions. The government of North Korea conducted a nuclear detonation on Sept. 9 at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.

The country’s previous nuclear test occurred back in January and it was followed by international disapproval. According to CNN, following the January test of a hydrogen bomb, punitive sanctions were placed on the North Korean regime. However, clearly these restrictions have not stopped the regime from continuing their nuclear development and tests.

The recent test was the fifth in a decade and the most powerful one yet for the team of scientists assembled by the nation’s dictator, Kim Jong- Un. With each test, the country is sending a message that it is strong and defiant. North Korea says its goal is to become a nuclear power; one with the means to threaten the United States with weapons deadly enough to cause severe damage.

“It’s definitely scary to think that North Korea is shooting missiles in our direction,” junior Megan Bradt said.

When asked, several UC students felt uneasy about the testing being done by North Korea. The tension between the country and the U.S. dates back to the Cold War and it seems to be rising once again, this time with more intensity.

“I do not believe that North Korea will attack the United States,” Assistant Professor of Government and Politics Jun T. Kwon said.

Kwon thinks that North Korea is only building up their nuclear program because they feel threatened by the United States. He thinks that the nation knows that if they tried to attack the U.S. that it would be a “suicide act.” They have seen the U.S. go into Iraq, Egypt, Syria and many other failing regimes and removed them from power. North Korea believes that if they develop successful nuclear weapons that the U.S. will not interfere with the country like they have in the Middle East and surrounding areas.

“I would be surprised if they didn’t feel threatened,” Kwon continued. “North Korea feels like it has to continue developing its nuclear capability as an insurance of survival.”

The U.S. continues to ask the nation’s only ally, China, for help when it comes to dealing with this situation. Kwon does not think that China will do anything to stop North Korea’s recent testing actions. He believes that China is nervous about the Korean Peninsula as a whole. Both North and South Korea border China to the east, so they do not want to interfere and cause even more tension than there already exists between the two nations. Many in China view the issue with North Korea as a dispute exclusively between the regime and the U.S., according to China’s Central Party School regional expert Zhang Liangui.

Kwon believes that the only way North Korea will stop its nuclear program is if there is a peace treaty created to establish that the U.S. will not get involved in N. Korea’s affairs. Until this is done, the country will continue funneling large amounts of money into their nuclear program and there will be no resolution.

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