The state of North Korea has long presented an enigma to the international community. Many have pondered this contentious question: why does the world allow North Korea to exist? The reasons for permitting its continued statehood are complex and layered. In this article, we shall explore the various motivations and perspectives of the countries that have seen fit to tolerate North Korea’s continued presence.
First of all, North Korea is a sovereign state and retains the right to self-determination under international law. It is a member of the United Nations, and even its traditional enemy countries such as South Korea and Japan are unable to penetrate its borders. Its government has maintained full independence since it was founded in 1948, despite significant foreign opposition.
In addition, North Korea has emerged as an important player in the East Asian region. Its nuclear arsenal, although limited in scope, has provided the country with a powerful deterrent against perceived threats. Its military forces are also formidable, with an army that is heavily armed and highly trained. As a consequence, any country contemplating an attack on North Korea must take into account the severe consequences that would accompany any such action.
Furthermore, the government of North Korea has benefited from the support of foreign powers such as China, Russia and Iran. China’s economic assistance has enabled the regime to survive, while Russia has provided political and military support. In addition, Iran has shown sympathy for the North Korean state and has been willing to overlook its human rights abuses. These countries, although refusing to formally recognize North Korea as an independent state, have nonetheless given it a degree of tacit support.
Finally, North Korea’s survival has benefited from the limited efforts of the United States and South Korea to bring about its collapse. Despite harsh economic sanctions and the occasional military show of force, the US has largely left the North Korean government to its own devices. South Korea, meanwhile, has refused to engage in any direct confrontation with North Korea, opting instead for a policy of “sunshine” diplomacy that has failed to alter its internal policies.
In conclusion, North Korea continues to exist due to a combination of factors. Its powerful military and nuclear capabilities certainly contribute to its longevity, as does the support it has received from its allies. Further, both the US and South Korea have consistently chosen not to take aggressive action against the state. For better or for worse, all of these factors have, as of yet, ensured the continued existence of North Korea.
The Role of China
The current relationship between North Korea and China has been described as an ‘alliance of convenience’. Both countries share a common enemy in the United States, however, their interests are far from aligned. For example, while North Korea is concerned with the security of its regime, China is more focused on its economic goals. Despite these differences, China has consistently provided North Korea with economic, military and diplomatic support.
Economically, China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and it is estimated that up to 85% of North Korea’s imports come from China. This relationship has provided a key source of revenue for the North Korean government and enabled it to withstand most of the economic sanctions it has faced. Additionally, China has provided assistance in constructing infrastructure within the country, primarily through private investment.
China has also been a key ally of North Korea in the diplomatic sphere. There have been numerous occasions in which Chinese representatives have acted as mediators between North Korea and other countries, such as the United States. Chinese diplomats have also been willing to back North Korea in numerous international forums, acting as a counterbalancing force to Western positions.
Finally, there is evidence that China has offered North Korea military assistance. Satellite imagery has revealed numerous instances of tanks, warships, rocket launchers and other military equipment entering the country from China. Furthermore, reports have suggested that China has supplied North Korea with nuclear-related technology as recently as 2013.
Military Threats to North Korea
For many countries, North Korea is considered to be a direct threat to their national security. This is mainly due to the country’s aggressive nuclear and ballistic missile program which, if left unchecked, could disproportionately affect the region. In particular, South Korea and Japan, two countries with long-standing historical hostilities with North Korea, fear the possibility of surprise attacks from the north.
In response to these potential threats, both South Korea and Japan have built up their own military capabilities. South Korea, in particular, has enlarged its armed forces, modernizing its equipment to include advanced fighters, submarines and mobile rocket launchers. In addition, the country has developed a variety of missile defense systems to protect against North Korean missiles.
Japan, meanwhile, has taken a more static approach. It has not invested heavily in its military, instead relying on its alliance with the United States to protect itself. Nevertheless, the country has invested heavily in anti-missile defense technology, supporting the development of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and the Standard Missile-3.
Although these countries have taken steps to protect themselves from potential North Korean aggression, ultimately the best way to guard against such attacks is to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. This is most likely to occur through negotiations with the United States and other countries willing to engage in dialogue.
The only viable solution to the North Korean nuclear dilemma is a diplomatic one. In recent years, diplomatic talks have been instrumental in securing agreements to limit North Korea’s weapons production. These talks have been overseen by a variety of countries, most notably China, South Korea and the United States.
The primary goal of these talks has been to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons in return for certain benefits. For example, the United States has offered economic and political incentives such as increased trade, diplomatic recognition, and access to financial aid.
Although North Korea has shown interest in these offers, there are still obstacles to a final agreement. North Korea’s insistence on complete denuclearization before any other concessions are made is an obstacle that has long frustrated the international community. Similarly, the US and its allies have demanded that North Korea take action to improve its human rights abuses, an issue which the North Korean government has thus far refused to address.
At present, negotiations between North Korea and the United States are ongoing. Whether or not these talks will bear fruit is yet to be seen. However, it is clear that any final agreement will require both countries to make some difficult concessions.
The international community continues to take a hard line against North Korea, condemning the Kim regime and its policies. This has resulted in the country experiencing social and economic isolation, as foreign countries and institutions have sought to limit the regime’s access to the global economy.
The most significant measures have been economic and financial sanctions issued by countries such as the United States and the European Union. These sanctions have targeted both North Korean officials and the country’s key industries, including its weapons and technology programs.
In addition, the United Nations has imposed resolutions aimed at limiting North Korea’s access to funds, technology and expertise. The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to restrict North Korean exports and limit its ability to access international banking systems.
Despite these measures, North Korea has thus far managed to circumvent the sanctions in place. The country has made use of foreign intermediaries to access the funds and technology it needs to continue its nuclear weapons program.
Ultimately, the effectiveness of international sanctions depends on the willingness of countries to enforce them. If countries are unwilling or unable to cooperate, then it is likely that North Korea will be able to continue its weapons program without any meaningful opposition.
The reasons the world allows North Korea to exist are multifaceted. The country’s independence and its strong military capabilities ensure its survival while its allies’ support prevents any serious action against it. Additionally, the United States and South Korea’s cautious approach to dealing with North Korea has meant that its internal policies are allowed to remain unchanged.
Furthermore, China’s economic and political assistance provide the country with its lifeline. All of these factors mean that, for better or for worse, North Korea is here to stay. Only through diplomatic negotiations and concerted international action can the country’s situation be improved.