Tensions Escalate Between the U.S. and North Korea

Posted by on Apr 20, 2017 in United States, World

In what can only be described as a rapidly deteriorating situation, the United States and North Korea continue their diplomatic face-off while the rest of the world watches nervously, waiting to see what will happen next.

MHE World

Korean demilitarized zone

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been escalating for quite some time. North Korea continues to test new missiles, even after the United Nations Security Council has banned them from doing so. Hundreds of thousands of North Korean rockets are within range of Seoul, South Korea, which is only 35 miles away. Currently, 28,500 American troops are stationed in Seoul. It is also believed that North Korea has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the world.

Here, btw takes a look at how this dangerous situation has developed over the past few months.

February, 2017: In violation of a UN Security Council resolution, North Korea tests a new ballistic missile. China responds by cutting off its coal exports to North Korea for the remainder of the year.

March, 2017: Undeterred, North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan; three land within 200 miles of Japan’s coastline. The U.S. responds by developing a missile defense system in South Korea. China expresses concern about the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

April 2, 2017: President Trump indicates that the U.S. is willing to act on its own to halt North Korean aggression, with or without the help of the Chinese.

April 11, 2017: The White House sends an American aircraft carrier, the Carl Vinson, and three other warships into the Sea of Japan. President Trump tells the media that this will send a powerful message to North Korea. In truth, the American ships are actually sailing in the opposite direction of North Korea and are, in fact, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula in the Indian Ocean, taking part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy. By the time this news is revealed, however, all of East Asia believes that President Trump is taking steps to launch a preemptive military strike.

April 14, 2017: North Korea responds by threatening to launch preemptive nuclear strikes at U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan, and beyond.

April 15, 2017: At a parade honoring the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder and the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong-un, the country demonstrates its military might by revealing three types of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

April 16, 2017: Once again in defiance of UN resolutions, North Korea conducts a missile test. The failed missile blows up seconds after liftoff, raising suspicions that the United States has sabotaged the test.

April 17, 2017: Vice President Mike Pence warns North Korea that if they continue with their aggressive policies, the U.S. will be forced to take action. North Korea responds by saying that the U.S.’s threats have created a dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula and worldwide.

Dig Deeper President Trump has often criticized China for not taking a stronger stand against North Korea. Locate China and North Korea on a map. Can you think of any reasons why China might be reluctant to escalate tensions with North Korea?