The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), better known as North Korea, has officially declared war on the United States. In mid-July Han Song Ryol, the director-general at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, stated that the United States’ operations in South Korea have become steadily more aggressive and that the US “crossed the redline.” North Korea then said that the United States’s exercises are training troops for an invasion.
North Korea is known for its strict government and laws. To understand the reasoning for their foreign policy decisions, one must understand what is going on domestically.The DPRK has been facing a famine since 1995. Approximately 80% of the land is unfarmable, and there has been an ongoing drought. Other countries have helped by providing food-related aid, with the U.S. being the main contributor. However, these other countries are starting to provide less and less for this hermit kingdom. South Korea has stopped its trade, with the exception of a few industrial complexes. In 2013, the unemployment rate was 25.6%. The economic activity in the country is very restricted and offers very little opportunity to escape the crushing poverty most of North Korea’s citizens face. Because most of North Korea’s limited funds are spent on the military, there is very little left to help stimulate economic activity.
North Koreans are offered very little in the way of freedom of speech. Recently, education minister Kim Yong-Jin was executed by firing squad for “anti-party” views. Kim (63) was investigated in June for his ideals and how they contradicted government policies. Executions such as this are extremely common in North Korea. Kim Jung Un (32), the leader of North Korea, allegedly put his uncle to death by 120 dogs. Jang Song Thaek, a high-ranking official, was also put to death, as a result of being found guilty of gambling, corruption, illicit drugs, and attempting to overthrow the state.
All these difficulties and internal conflicts create an extremely unstable platform for a country to run on, and relations are becoming more unsteady as time wears on. While the United States worries about unpredictable North Korea, some argue that North Korea’s allies, China and Russia, are who the United States should really be concerned with. While many believe the United States is not threatened by North Korea, they still do have nuclear capabilities. On September 9, the country’s military conducted its fifth nuclear test, resulting in condemnation from many world leaders.