North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced his country is now in a “state of war” with South Korea on March 30.
“North Korea has been so heavily sanctioned by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union that the economic situation in the state is desperate,” Eastern Michigan University political science professor Nevena Trajkov said.
“The logic behind imposing sanctions on a state includes placing a heavy economic and existential strain on all members of society—namely citizens—so that the citizenry will demand change and begin to mobilize against the regime,” she said.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in a press conference that “nuclear threat is not a game, it’s very serious.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in support of South Korea at an April 2 news conference.
“Let me be perfectly clear here today, the United States will defend and protect ourselves and our treaty ally the republic of Korea,” he said.
“The Foreign minister and I also think it’s important to stay absolutely focused on our shared goal of a peaceful Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons,” Kerry said.
In a statement, China’s President Xi Jinping said, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains.”
China has been an ally of North Korea in the past.
EMU student Anthony Wozniak, who is also the chairman of the EMU College Republicans, said, “I don’t think they will try anything because they have to know that if they try anything, they will get destroyed. Even their biggest ally China is warning North Korea to cool it down.”
In October of last year, North Korea announced it had in its possession missiles that can reach the United States. In January 2013, North Korea launched its third nuclear test. The first took place in 2006 and the second in 2009.
“North Korea does not have the nuclear capabilities to carry out this threat on the continental United States,” Trajkov said. “But they do have short-range capabilities—not necessarily nuclear—to prove themselves a real threat to U.S. allies and territories in their neighborhood. Because of this, their strategy is that with these threats, the United States will come to the negotiating table and begin the lifting of sanctions.”
On April 5, Kim Jong Un said the safety of embassies located in the North Korean capital of Pyongyan could not be assured, but no ambassadors have declared a departure.
“The decisions of other states to keep their ambassadors in North Korea, despite Kim Jong Un’s warning to American allies to evacuate their embassies in North Korea, is most likely due to the fact that many are still viewing Kim Jong Un’s words as rhetoric,” Trajkov said.