How not to respond to a North Korean nuclear test | NK News
July 22, 2024

How not to respond to a North Korean nuclear test

A proper response to Pyongyang's behavior requires coordination between S.Korea, China and the U.S.

The North Korean leadership has to be overjoyed with the international reaction to the country’s fourth nuclear test, carried out just one week into 2016. Not only did the test result in North Korea featuring prominently in the foreign policy section of subsequent Democratic and Republican presidential debates, but it has also successfully driven a wedge between China and the United States at a time when ties between Pyongyang and Beijing were clearly showing signs of strain. This despite the fact that the magnitude of the fourth test was not significantly different from the one that the country conducted three years previous, and therefore seemingly achieved little besides reinforcing the notion that the North Korean leadership is recalcitrant and difficult to deal with.

Given the overreaction from the governments of both the United States and South Korea, however, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Kim regime’s claims of successfully testing an H-bomb had not been thoroughly discredited within hours of the blast. But say this much for Kim Jong Un: he’s found a way to finally bring the warring factions of the United States Congress together. In a nearly unanimous show of bipartisanship, Congress passed a bill imposing new sanctions on North Korea, which President Obama signed into law last week. Members of Congress presumably could go home feeling content that they had done something about North Korea’s belligerence.

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