Does the growing nuclear ambitions of North Korea points to failure of global community to put pressure on North Korea not to acquire nuclear weapons? Discuss throwing light on its so called Songun policy.

Since its creation in 1945 to till 1991, North Korea was provided with large scale economic aids, defence and military assistance by the Soviet Union. With collapse of Soviet Union, North Korea lost its protector. Though China provided some assistance, North Korea knew that it wouldn’t match toSoviet assistance. It was during this period, North Korea started its nuclear program.
In 1994, North Korea faced severe famine with heavy death toll. The collapse of Soviet aid and trade, and the famine collapsed North Korea’s economy.
Faced with the situation to secure the country, the new leader Kim Jong II announced a policy calledSongun (“military first”). The policy is viewed as a strategy to strengthen the military. The people of North Korea were convinced that the military was their protector and not the socio-economic reforms.
There is a major failure of sanctions put on North Korea to halt its nuclear progress.  The existing sanctions are relatively narrow when compared to the US sanctions against Iran that helped to halt its nuclear program. Sanctions on Iran such as measures against foreign banks have not been imposed on North Korea. The reason is fear of diplomatic clash with China, whose banks are believed to be used by North Korea.
Also China’s stance of friendly relations with North Korea with six-party talks may prevent the chances of taking strong fresh sanctions.
The fact is that only China is in a position to put pressure against North Korea since 88% of North Korea’s foreign trade is with China. Unless the strong sanctions are translated into reality, the world cannot prevent North Korea’s next nuclear test.
Therefore, the ball is in the court of China to prevent North Korea from being inhuman and end its Songun Policy.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Does the growing nuclear ambitions of North Korea points to failure of global community to put pressure on North Korea not to acquire nuclear weapons? Discuss throwing light on its so called Songun policy.

Published: March 17, 2016 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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