North Korea, the U.S., and the Nuclear Threat
Readings and activities on the history of the U.S.-North Korea relationship & the current tension over nuclear weapons.
by Alan Shapiro
The U.S.-North Korea Conflict
- North Korea has an army of close to a million near its border with South Korea, an important US ally
- North Korean forces are within artillery range of the South Korean capital Seoul, only 30 or so miles away
- the North Korean army also threatens the 37,000 US troops in South Korea
- North Korea's ballistic missile program probably has the capacity to strike another US ally in the region, Japan
- North Korea does not have, as Iraq does, 10 percent of the world's known oil reserves.
- stresses that "Nuclear weapons play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends"
- emphasizes the need to develop new nuclear weapons that can penetrate deeply into the earth to destroy underground stores of enemy weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological weapons
- calls for better intelligence and targeting systems for potential nuclear weapons strikes
- indicates that the US may need to resume testing to make new nuclear weapons and ensure the reliability of existing ones. (The US has refused to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty forbidding nuclear weapons testing but has voluntarily complied with it)
- names North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya as nations that "have long-standing hostility toward the United States and its security partners"
- names China and Russia as potential enemies
- concludes that the US could face situations in which it might need to use nuclear weapons.
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