Sanctions don’t deter North Korea’s armament
Sanctions have little have had effects on North Korea's ongoing armament programme. Pyongyang conducted 6 nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017. It is believed to be planning a seventh.
The recent North Korean launches of intercontinental and short-range ballistic missiles offer yet another irrefutable evidence that Pyongyang hardly cares for its so-called self-imposed moratorium on conducting such tests.
Observers say the international sanctions slapped against North Korea have had little effects on its ongoing armament programme. Pyongyang conducted six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017. It is believed to be planning a seventh. North Korean ICBMs are designed to carry nuclear warheads to anywhere on the US mainland. Its short range missiles are designed to carry tactical nuclear weapons.
The United States perceives in North Korea's missiles an apparent threat to its territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. A missile launched from North Korea would take just about 14 minutes to reach the island. Guam is about 2,100 miles south of North Korea. Guam is home to some 7,000 US service members. The US keeps a naval base and coast guard station in the south, and an air force base in the north. It has a permanent aircraft carrier in Guam. Guam is armed with the US Army's missile defence system - known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. America has installed the same system in South Korea as well.
However, the United States is unlikely to lose its sleep over the North Korean armament. Washington seems to be calculating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un would not dare to hurt US interests. He knows he has just a few nuclear devices.
In the recent past, American President Joe Biden has talked of a "calibrated practical approach" to achieve the denuclearization of Korea. His Secretary of State Antony Blinken has commented the United States will look to see not only what North Korea says but what it actually does. But the Biden administration is unlikely to slap tougher sanctions against Pyongyang even if the latter proceeded with its nuclear missile programme and avoided, on some or the other pretext, to agree to verifiably reduce its nuclear arsenals.
Washington's experience is that no pressure works with North Korea in pushing it towards its denuclearization. Former US President Donald J Trump had summit meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. That, too, did not work.
Japan and South Korea are sure to feel upset over the growing armament programme of North Korea. Both nations have had a history of friction with the North. North Korean short-range missiles are designed to carry tactical nuclear weapons. Japan and South Korea perceive in the North's missiles an existential threat.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.