"North Korea in "last stage" of preparation to test-fire long range missile, Kim says" The Washington Times - January 1st, 2017

A few words about North Korea:

North Korean Flag

North Korea is a relatively new country which has dramatically changed throughout the past century. The country went from foreign occupation to what seems to be a fierce totalitarian dictatorship obsessed with the idea of starting its military power on an international stage, leaving its population in dire poverty without freedom.

Geographic Location:

This country is located in Pacific Asia, in the north of the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula. The Korean peninsula is located at the South from China. Its official name is the People's Democratic Republic of Korea. Its capital city is called Pyongyang and is located in the South of the country.

The country's historical background:

At the beginning of the 20th century and until the mid 20th century, North Korea was occupied by the Japanese Empire. The Second World War saw the collapse of the Japanese Empire due to its defeat against the United States of America. However, the country was then split in two parts occupied by two different countries. In one hand the North was occupied by the USSR and so part of the communist whereas in the other hand, the South was occupied by the USA and so part of the capitalist block. North and South were separated by a frontier called the 38th parallel.

Sign delimiting the frontier of the 38th parallel

Between 1945 to 1948, several attempts of reunification were made, but every single one of them was unsuccessful. This period saw the birth of a sustainable split between the North and the South with the establishment of the DPRK in the North and the Republic of Korea in the South.

Afterwards, in 1950, the DPRK launched an attempt of invasion of South Korea. This quickly provoques a war which involves the USSR and China (supporting the North) and the USSR supporting the South).

Woman carrying what is supposed to be her son during the Korea War
Map showing the evolution of the Korean War

In 1953, the two armies, facing a stalemate signed the Korean Armistice Agreement bringing a permanent ceasefire. However this treaty did not establish peace, and since then no peace treaty has ever been signed between the two countries. The ceasefire also established a buffer zone (demilitarized zone) at the frontier of the two countries. But in fact, this buffer zone turned out to be one of the most militarized place in the world as it is filled with fences, mines and overall soldiers who tend to have itchy trigger fingers. This place still existing nowadays represents one of the last legacies of the Cold War.

Korean buffer zone with South Korean soldiers facing North Korea

North Korea nowadays:

Kim Jong Un

Since then, North Korea has remained cut from the rest of the world and distanced itself from the traditional communism, to establish its own kind of communism called: the Juche. This country claims to be a self-reliant socialist state holding democratic elections. But in fact critics describe this country as a totalitarian dictatorship with common points to a Stalinist state as proved by the cult of personality surrounding Kim II - Sung and his family. Since 2011, the actual leader is Kim Jong Un proved to be a true instable and paranoid authoritarian leader.

Propaganda around Kim II - Sung

The country remains poorly developed, and we can find clues of that directly on google earth by looking at the satellite vision at night over the Pacific Asia: In fact instead of being enlightened like its neighboring countries, North Korea is in a deep darkness.

Google Earth's Satellite view at night

Numerous clues also prove that the population lives in dire poverty and suffers dramatically from a total lack of freedom. North Korea has actually been the target of of an incredible amount of condemnations from the United Nation's Security Council for non respect of human rights. However the country remains mute on this subject and no clues of improvements have been found.

In order to have more details about North Korea's history and actual issues. We invite you to watch this video made by Vox Explains.

North Korea and the nuclear power: Kim Jong Un's televised adress

North korea's actual focus is to state itself as a nuclear power on the international scale. A nuclear power able to influence the behavior of foreign countries (mostly the USA). The country has actually developed its nuclear power since the 1950s. But since Kim Jong Un seized power, its ambition to develop a nuclear weapon has grown dramatically (all of that against the USA's pressure for a freeze in its arm development). It has grown so much that the country is now at its final stage to test a long range nuclear missile, ( a missile able to reach a zone located far from the zone from which it has been launched).

North Korean nuclear missile during a military parade

In fact this is what declared Kim Jong Un in his New year's televised address to the Nation. During his half an hour speech, the young leader declared that North Korea was about to test fire its first long range missile at the time of the USA's presidential inauguration in order to push the USA to "potential negotiations". He also explained that North Korea "will continue to strengthen its ability based on nuclear might to mount a preemptive attack".

Trump and his wife during the Inauguration day

Even if Kim Jong Un made no mention of Trump in his speech, the hidden aim of this announcement is to push Trump's administration to negotiatiate. These negotiations with Trump's administration would allow North Korea to be finally considered as a true nuclear power able to influence and threaten the USA's foreign policies. However negotiations will certainly be hard, as tensions between the two countries are high, plus Trump qualified the North Korean leader as a "maniac". Even though, Trump is aware of the need for a nuclear agreement with North Korea.

No response was made to this speech, but since a long time, North Korea has faced a strong opposition from the United Nations Security Council which banned it from developing ballistic missiles and testing nuclear devices. Observing no improvement, in late November 2016 the UN passed sanctions that include cutting North Korea's Coal. South Korean leaders on their side have also highly condemned North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Even if North Korea is a small remote country, it proves through its nuclear threats to still be an influent country on the international stage, able to interfere with the USA's foreign policies but also the United Nations. These long range missiles promise unavoidable harsh negotiation with the USA, but can also show the beginning of an attempt of a step back from North Korean protectionism and isolation.

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