Politics within the United States of America have been on fire recently, and it has stolen the spotlight from other places in the world. North Korea still lurks in the shadows of international politics, however, analysts are becoming increasingly worried about new North Korean military breakthroughs.
According to Reuters, during a parade, North Korea unveiled a brand new missile: the Pukguksong-5. North Korea is an extremely militaristic state, funnelling lots of money to its military instead of things it likely considers less important, for example, feeding its population. Developing a new missile is nothing new to them, but this new missile is thought to be a SLBM; a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Many western and midwestern United States cities and capitals were already known to be in the range of nuclear missiles, but the SLBM could finally place Washington D.C. and the rest of the United States within range of North Korea’s missiles.
It is worth noting that the ballistic missile alone is about as much of a threat as any other North Korean missile. In order for any significance to be achieved, a compatible submarine must also be developed to deploy the missile if used. According to Naval News, the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party announced plans to begin development of a nuclear submarine. Additionally, if the SLBM does not reach the entirety of the continental United States, its completion would surely prove that North Korea is extremely close to having that capability.
Fears arise not only from the large-scale increasing threat of nuclear war, but also the smaller-scale threat of North Korea having more leverage in negotiations with the United States and South Korea. If North Korea begins to threaten and invade other countries, wars will begin. With these new technologies on North Korea’s side, a war will still likely be won by the United States but at a great cost of human life. However, even if they gain enough leverage in smaller-scale negotiations with other countries such as the United States and South Korea, the threat of war can still gradually increase over time.
President Trump has begun a tremendous effort to contain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, but with his eventual leave of office and a current lack of dialog between the two countries, it is questionable whether North Korea will continue to maintain a peaceful relationship with other countries.