North Korea’s Historic Behavior

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North Korea continues to be a threat to the United States because it behaves as a rogue state actor on the global stage, has developed an illegal nuclear weapons program and capabilities, along with continuously perpetrating human rights violations against its citizens. This behavior by North Korea has escalated throughout history and has been supported by a strong rhetoric against the United States, its alias, and its interests. To label a country as a rogue state actor, there are a few behavioral characteristics that are needed. This includes blatant disregard for international laws, rash behavior and rhetoric, and hostility to the ideologies and interests of the free world. North Korea is arguably one of the most prolific rogue states within the global landscape. North Korea has consistently beaten the drum on the threats towards the United States. It has not only threatened to target United States Military facilities, but also threatened to target and destroy major metropolitan areas of United States allies. In a show of force and capabilities, in 1998, North Korea fired a long-range rocket into the Pacific Ocean, but did so over Japan. This not only showcased their range capabilities, but also matched the rhetoric that they are willing to disregard international laws with the intent of threatening the United States. Since the inception of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), North Korea has historically disregarded and violated the treaty. The largest violation of this treaty was the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Under the treaty, inspections were scheduled to begin in May 1992. Inconsistencies began to arise during the initial inspection stages, and the following year North Korea refused access to the inspectors and withdrew from the NPT. In 2005, North Korea declared that it had manufactured nuclear weapons. The development of nuclear weapons did not only showcase their ability to behave as a rogue state actor, but it also made them a major threat in the world stage and particularly to the United States. North Korea on numerous occasions has showcased and tested short, medium, intermediate, and intercontinental, range ballistic missiles. Throughout the years, their missile range has continued to grow with potential range capabilities of 8,100 miles. While the range capability in itself is alarming, North Korea's rhetoric against the United States has continued to harden. While denouncing and threatening the United States and its allies, they have conducted a cumulative of six nuclear tests. These tests have occurred under both Kim Jon-il and Kim Jong-un's leadership. The first nuclear test was conducted in October of 2006, then in May 2009, under Kim Jon-il. While under the leadership of Kim Jung-un, North Korea detonated nuclear weapons as part of a test in February 2013, January and September 2016, and September 2017. While North Korea has stated on several occasions that they have amassed a large nuclear stockpile, estimates have ranged on the actual size. Most recently the United States Intelligence Community has confirmed that they do have nuclear weapons, based on their six nuclear tests. The current estimates of their stockpile are ranging to as many as 60 nuclear weapons. This estimate is based on the amount of enriched uranium and separated plutonium it possesses. Lastly, North Korea remains a threat to the United States by continuously perpetrating human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch has described North Korea as one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world" and that it curtails all basic human rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and freedom to practice religion. It prohibits any organized political opposition, independent media, free trade unions, and independent civil society organizations. Arbitrary arrest, torture in custody, forced labor, and public executions maintain an environment of fear and control. In 2014 the United Nations Commission of Inquiry also reported similar findings on human rights violations against North Korea. Its findings stated that the government's atrocities towards their people include murder, enslavement, imprisonment, and many other crimes against humanity. As recent as 2017, based on estimates by the International Bar Association, North Korea is holding over 80,000 political prisoners.7 These prisoners are being subjected to what the International Bar Association describes as systematic murder (including infanticide), torture, persecution of Christians, rape, forced abortions, starvation and overwork leading to countless deaths. North Korea's historic behavior as a rogue state actor, illegal manufacturing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, and their human rights violations, all support their categorization as a threat to the United States. These activities are not isolated instances and have escalated throughout history which supports the assessment that their threat level will only continue to increase in the future.
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North Korea's historic behavior. (2019, Jul 30). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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