As world leaders converge in Washington to discuss the growing nuclear threat, North Korea fires a missile on April 1. The April Fool’s missile launch begs the question, how effective is the world’s nuclear deterrence? If a country like North Korea were to answer the question, the answer would be: Nuclear deterrence is about launching a nuclear warhead in the air order to let all know that the state is capable of preempting an attack.
Or at least, this is what the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, So Se Pyong, said when asked why the April Fool’s missile was launched, as quoted by CBS News.
“If the United States continues (drills with the South), then we have to make the countermeasures also, as I told you. So, we have to develop and we have to make more deterrence, nuclear deterrence.”
It is probable that the Nuclear Security Summit might not be held again once US President Barack Obama leaves office. Still, the summit is a lasting legacy that the Obama administration leaves to its successor. Asia One reports:
“World leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington have reaffirmed their commitment to countering nuclear terrorism and proliferation, with the budding nuclear ambitions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group topping the list of concerns.”
Asia One said that, during the summit, 50 nations highlighted the nuclear threat “as one of the greatest challenges to international security and pledged to co-operate to combat it.” At the same time, the represented nations underscored the most critical aspect of the nuclear threat as follows:
“More work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes.”
In response to this aspect of the nuclear threat, President Obama had this to say to the 49 world leaders present: “There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they most certainly would use it to kill as many innocent people as possible.”
Obama was referring to ISIS and the nuclear threat the terrorist group poses. The American president, along with the rest of the participants to the Nuclear Security Summit, is apparently not as concerned or perturbed by the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The US President also took the opportunity to underscore the important role that two countries play in helping manage the world’s combined total of nuclear stockpile in a prudent manner.
As The Express Tribune reports: “Obama on Friday urged Pakistan and India to scale down the nuclear threat in the subcontinent.”
The nuclear warheads of Pakistan could become the world’s third biggest stockpile, the report added. Such position puts the United States and Russia at the first and second ranks, respectively. As the summit ends with the solemn pledge by nations to remain ever vigilant to countering nuclear proliferation, questions remain regarding how the North Korean nuclear threat will be dealt with.
As it is, more displays of nuclear audacity can only be expected from the country, as it vows to respond to any form of provocation in a manner that resembles an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. However, as the North Korean ambassador to the UN says, the country’s missile launches are but a natural response to the US-backed military exercises in the region. So as the bigger picture looks, when it comes to the question of who the real bully of nuclear threat actually is, the whole issue remains obscured.
Despite the efforts of the world to address important security concerns in a concerted fashion, it is apparent that the North Korean issue will stay on as a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Nevertheless, the recent achievements of the summit of world leaders to address the nuclear threat are commendable.
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