The inter-Korean summit is held at the House of Peace in Panmunjeom on Apr. 27. Clockwise from left are National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon, President Moon Jae-in, Blue House Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok, Vice Chairman of the North Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee Kim Yong-chol, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Kim Yo-jong, First Vice Director of the Central Committee of the North Korean Workers’ Party. (by Kim Kyung-ho, staff photographer)
How North Korea’s Military and Intelligence Can Damage The Arctic and Asian Countries: How Will This Affect Our National Security?
Written by: Alexa Dominique Pascual
North Korea has been an ongoing threat to the security of our world. Not only, are they making their citizens suffer from starvation, poverty and the lack of human rights by brutally killing them if they commit the slightest mistake. But, the North Korean government has been secretive about their military tactics and their ambition of possibly interfering and creating violence with neighbouring countries and North America. Just recently, North Korea has been reported to be testing missiles possibly to threaten the Arctic and nearby Asian countries surrounding the Korean peninsula with the possibility of interference and attack. The country also is currently funded by China, in terms of military equipment and in trade. The suspicions of an ongoing plan between North Korea, Russia and China have been escalating threats against the West. In this case, the alliance of G20 and NATO should pay close attention to possible interference, this also mirrors the act of Russian aggression towards Ukraine, which was unexpected and sudden. While speculations of North Korea’s possibility of doing the same strategy to neighbouring countries is a significant concern to the international community. I am not predicting a possible interference, but based on North Korean's actions lately such situation could occur. North Korean officials might say it as a “military operation,” but we all know that is an excuse for a potential attack or interference to gain their ambition of interfering with other nations. The ongoing threat that other nations may face in this potential attack may severely threaten the world and attack democracy and the ability to conduct diplomatic relationships and compromise. With their citizens suffering from mass starvation and the constant abuse citizens are facing because of their government, the same strategy can not escalate and branch out to other nations. Especially for the US, officials must gain caution on any possible threats against citizens in this way, each country can increase their national security and their protection to their people to help combat any possible interference. But what can the Arctic and the US do to increase support for military and intelligence if ever there is an interface conducted by North Koreans? What can the Western alliance do to protect South Korea and Japan from any potential attack?
What capabilities does North Korea have in terms of military attack?
The threat that North Korea showcased to the United States and its Asian allies gave a negative impact on their international presence. Not only is the nation brutal to its own citizens, by starving them, disregarding development and the freedom of speech, but also pose as a military threat that could potentially attack any country across the world. Being the most aggressive military forces worldwide, launching missile attacks and operations and nuclear tests has brought a big concern to the international community. The unfortunate factor in this situation is that North Korea has a rich and well-equipped military but its citizens are suffering from mass starvation and poverty, making the country one of the poorest nations in the world. The government’s funds go mostly to military equipment, making the country look like they prioritize war over their own people. This is a highly unfortunate situation because civilians are dying from the increase in poverty within the country. Pyongyang was reported to test nuclear weapons size times and developed their ballistic missiles which was just testes a few days ago. Their missiles are capable of reaching nearby Asian nations and even North America. Because of North Korea’s shady strategies, the international community does not know their future plans. Hopefully, it is not to destroy peace and stability in nearby countries. Because that would cause potential chaos attack not only to Japan or South Korea but also to NATO if the DPRK decides to interfere with North America.
(Council on Foreign Relations,North Korea’s Military Capabilities, 2022)
Even with the diplomatic agreement between North and South Korea after the Cold War, it is more likely that there is still tension between these two countries. Peace could be accomplished, yes but peace does not last. That is why it is essential for our world leaders to continue doing diplomatic deals that promote peace and prosperity to lessen tension and possible attack between nations. Especially with Japan, for example, because North Korean activity in that country consists of drug smuggling, marine poaching and spying. Which obviously violates citizen privacy, crimes within the Japanese society and increases the act of foreign interference.
(A Government- Sponsored Drug Trafficking Network, LCDR Cindy Hurst)
After the recent missile testing conducted by the North Korean military. The strengthening of peace and security negotiations between Japan and South Korea was heavily considered to prevent a possible “World War III”. This security deal should be strengthened in order to avoid such attack from happening. Both country’s intelligence agencies should deeply collaborate to track down potential threats that could harm the livelihood of citizens. Because the two countries have strong trade and diplomatic relations with the US, tensions may increase with North Korea because the US is North Korea’s main enemy for generations. It is an essential key factor for military and intelligence agencies to pay close watch on further military operations conducted by the DPRK. With the ongoing threat of North Korea interfering in national security, the South Korean intelligence agency reported that there are spy operations in the country’s labour group that links to North Korea. In this case, the situation goes even more suspicious. The possibility of further attack and also in a cyberattack is more likely to happen if intelligence agencies worldwide do not pay attention to this issue and to further their analysis and policy work on this situation. In this case, such situation even makes it more complicated because it only proves to show that the DPRK has ambitions to destroy peace and prosperity. Such an operation can not happen, which is why the west has to step up and increase security relations between Asian countries. (South Korea and Japan to drop trade dispute as security concerns trump history, Thomson Reuters,2023)
PRK’s Military Weapons Funded by China
China being North Korea’s biggest trading partner, helped the Kim Jong-un regime in terms of trade deals and the funds for military equipment. China also has played a big role in preventing the collapse of the North Korean empire because the DPRK rallies on China and Russia on trade deals and the funding of their defence system. However, the nuclear tests conducted by the North Korean military complicated relations with China. Chinese officials were confused and concerned about North Korea’s leadership strategy. However, the potential diplomatic relations the US plans to have with North Korea, benefitted South Korea in their approach to negotiations with China and the DPRK. Because of the ongoing Sino-North Korean relationship in political and economic partnership, China is still funding and having further negotiations with North Korea. This is a very unfortunate situation because not only is China strengthening the North Korean empire, but it is also furthering destruction to the DPRK’s citizens. North Korean citizens are suffering from human rights violations even worse than other developing countries. With further support from China, then there will be no change in the leadership strategy of the North Korean government. The Chinese government should rethink its agenda and further increase policy development among Chinese officials on how they are going to further their approach to their relationship with the North Korean government. An example that showcased confusion in their diplomatic relationship is when North Korea decided to launch nuclear missiles in 2017, and China had to intervene in their decision of such act.
This situation even increased confusion in the West, especially with the decision of China to avoid sanctions on North Korea. This affected China’s international presence because of supporting another communist regime that has worst laws than any other country. The dependency of North Korea on China in terms of economic relations is concerning because this only escalates North Korea’s power and dictatorship. Its citizens are dying and are being constantly killed just for exploring the outside world. Strengthening the Sino-North Korean relationship will only escalate and bring more destruction to the lives of citizens because the North Korean government will still be able to continue its dangerous agenda. The most suspicious agenda that North Korea did was in the 1970s when they planned to use China to possibly conquer South Korea and make it a communist regime. The fear of that happening again is escalating because of the shady operations that the DPRK is conducting. Because China wants a divided Korea, it makes it easier for them to have diplomatic relations with a communist Korea. However, it is time for China to think beyond their economic interests and to care about the livelihood of citizens suffering from the North Korean regime and what North Korea can do to neighbouring countries. Sadly, such empathy is not likely to happen because of China’s ambition to gain more presence and to gain power in foreign policy to become stronger than the West.
(Wilson Center, North Korean Attitudes Toward China: A Historical View of Contemporary Difficulties)
(The National Interest, What China Wants From North Korea, 2021, Andrei Lankov)
What can the west do in this situation?
The continuous collaboration between intelligence agencies worldwide should stregnthen. The US in particular should develop a stronger security deal with Japan and South Korea to avoid such attack from happening. It is a very unfortunate situation for any attack to take place. Nations worldwide deserve to have independence and peace in their society. Any interference and attack on civilians is unacceptable, and it is cruel for any person to experience such brutality and suffering. War is never an option, but when it comes to protecting innocent lives, then people have to be defended. Peace negotiations should continue to push through for any country to survive any possible interference. In this case, governments should pay attention in securing Asian countries and the Arctic for any possible attack. This could only be done if the alliance remains to have a stronger relationship with one another. Because other counties need the support of Western defence. Especially when it comes to military deals and security deals to strengthen each nations defence system. The world has to stick together and form a stronger relationship when it comes to protecting each country's national security from any attack to escalate and to cause further destruction.
(Wilson Center, North Korean Attitudes Toward China: A Historical View of Contemporary Difficulties,https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/north-korean-attitudes-toward-china-historical-view-contemporary-difficulties)
(The National Interest, What China Wants From North Korea, 2021, Andrei Lankov,https://nationalinterest.org/blog/korea-watch/what-china-wants-north-korea-189090)
(South Korea and Japan to drop trade dispute as security concerns trump history, Thomson Reuters,2023,https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/south-korea-japan-relations-1.6780510#:~:text=Japan%20and%20South%20Korea%20agreed,together%20against%20deepening%20security%20threats.)
(A Government- Sponsored Drug Trafficking Network, LCDR Cindy Hurst,https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA443303.pdf)
(Council on Foreign Relations,North Korea’s Military Capabilities, 2022,https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-missile-tests-military-capabilities)
(Asia Society New York, Bitter Allies: China and North Korea, 2018,https://asiasociety.org/new-york/events/bitter-allies-china-and-north-korea)
(The Diplomat, China Relations Key to Situation in North Korea,Isozaki Atsuhito, 2022,https://thediplomat.com/2022/12/china-relations-key-to-situation-in-north-korea/)