Upping the ante: North Korea establish hegemony in the region
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2016-01-10 07:43:41

Upping the ante: North Korea establish hegemony in the region

 

 

NK

 

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have once again ratcheted up as South Korea responds to its northern neighbor’s latest antagonism. The South reactivated its propaganda speakers near its heavily fortified border with North Korea on Friday following Pyongyang’s announcement about its purported H-bomb test earlier in the week. Seoul announced that, as of midday Friday local time (10 p.m. Thursday evening ET), it has resumed broadcasting propaganda using loudspeakers over the demilitarized zone, the heavily guarded buffer between the two Koreas. It has also confirmed an increase in the level of cybersecurity defense. North Korea considers the broadcasts tantamount to an act of war, and at times has responded to them with artillery fire. The country is widely decried as a rogue pariah state and its government is caricatured as a bizarre madhouse that poses a threat to the entire region’s stability due to its unpredictable and militaristic nature. So for North Korea to conduct its fourth nuclear test within a decade predictably sets alarm bells ringing. What compounds the fears of the neighbours of North Korea, which include South Korea, Japan and China, as well as that of the US and the UN, is the claim now made by North Korea that it has successfully tested a thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb. The hydrogen bomb, as opposed to the ‘conventional’ atom bomb, relies on nuclear fusion (where multiple nuclei fuse together) rather than fission (where an atom is split into its subatomic particles), which produces a thousand times more energy and starts a chain reaction that is theoretically infinite. This means that a thermonuclear bomb is capable of wreaking untold destruction. The world first became aware that North Korea has conducted its latest nuclear test when a seismic event measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, with a depth of zero kilometres, was noted as originating in North Korea in a region where previous nuclear tests were conducted. Soon, the state TV of North Korea aired a boastful broadcast where the successful testing of a hydrogen bomb was claimed as well as justified as a necessary response against US aggression. As North Korea is one of the most inscrutable states in the world, there is little scope for an independent inquiry into these claims. However, most western experts have dismissed the notion that a successful hydrogen bomb was tested, given the limited scale of the tremor. But even these dismissive experts have warned that this does not mean that North Korea is not developing hydrogen bombs. The predictable punitive actions that are in store for North Korea for continually instigating the prospect of regional instability are unlikely to resolve the problem at the heart of the matter. It is instructive to contextualise precisely why North Korea behaves with what appears to be unchecked recklessness. Consider the history. It is a small country besieged on all sides by allies of the US that demonise it at every turn ever since the beginning of the Cold War when the US-led UN forces fought communist North Korea in 1950-53. The Korean War, incidentally, is still not officially over even though a tense armistice has been observed since 1953. This lack of resolution and the existential insecurity felt by the North Korean regime fuels this paranoid quest.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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