North Korea: Beyond the Nuclear Challenge
In the winter of 2012-13, North Korea's third nuclear test, yet another long-range missile test, and increasingly provocative rhetoric threatened stability in Northeast Asia. Once again, North Korea engaged in bluster designed to project strength and resolve in the face of international disapproval. In the first few months of 2013 alone, the North threatened a nuclear attack on the United States, unilaterally withdrew from the 1953 Armistice, declared a 'state of war' existed on the Korean Peninsula and cut the military hotline between the North and South. For their part, the US and South Korea signed a protocol for dealing with provocations from the North, flew B-2 Stealth bombers across South Korea as a show of force to deter the North, and conducted military exercises together in March 2013. Combined with revelations in November 2010 of a North Korean uranium nuclear program, nuclear tests of a plutonium-based weapon in 2006 and 2009, and continuing fears of missile and nuclear proliferation, the Peninsula is in a new Cold War. Deterrence, isolation, and symbolic shows of force and determination are the current strategies in place, and the€œNorth Korea problem€ remains as intractable as ever.
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