According to various news outlets, North Korea (otherwise known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK for short) has been spotted launching four Scud missiles into the sea. Speculation why North Korea did so was because the start of annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States which North Korea opposes.
While the waterlogged Scuds appear to pose little threat to South Korea, or any other country for that matter, just the fact that North Korea is acting like this, once again, shows the extent the country will rattle its sabre in order to get some international attention. This, of course, comes one year after the infamous underground nuclear test and its potentially intercontinental multistage rocket a few months prior to that.
Obviously, a militarily-minded North Korea poses problems for quite a few nations. Understandably, South Korea would rather not become a smoldering crater in the ground. The United States, because of its ties to the area during the Cold War, also has a vested interest in seeing South Korea not becoming a smoldering crater in the ground. Even China, who, in the past, has been fairly supportive of the Kim family until recent years as Kim Jong-un has figuratively poked every bear in the zoo, now becomes increasingly irritated with the country with a severe case of little dog syndrome. Swinging from all sides like some ill-managed boxer, North Korea has managed to alienate itself on a global stage, earning it the butt of many a joke, which, in turn, further adds fuel to the fire.
So, then why hasn’t North Korean government collapsed? The country is already a colossal humanitarian disaster waiting to be fully exposed. Kim Jong-un, while only being supreme leader of the DPRK for just over two years, has already exposed his crazy side, which is unbelievably more pronounced than his father, Kim Jong-Il.
The thing to understand with a potential collapse of the DPRK has to partially do with the question of whose problem it becomes. China has traditionally supported North Korea because the country acts as a buffer zone between China and the United States. Should the North Korean regime collapse, that buffer zone disappears, and thousands of refugees pour into China, of which the economic strain cannot be fathomed as well as a stronger US presence in Eastern Asia. Therefore it is more in China’s favour to keep North Korea marginally maintained. If North Korea and South Korea were to reunite, we would see an economic disparity and financial burden much like we saw in the reunification of East and West Germany, but on a scale that is quite figuratively off the charts.
As it stands currently, the world watches with bated breath as North Korea hits headlines once more, waiting to see what the unruly nation does next. Part of the reason why North Korea is so frightening, especially in Western media, is because it is a nation so dangerously unpredictable. Jokes aside, while North Korea can’t possibly compare to military heavyweights such as the United States and China, it can still do some serious damage to places where it would hurt, particularly to its neighbor in the South.