In 1998, North Korea launched its long-range Taepodong
missile, propelling it over Japan. A year ago, Pyongyang,
the capital city of North Korea, announced that it has
nuclear weapons. Then, on July 5th of this year, North
Korea fired around seven missiles, both long- and short-range,
each upgrades to their original model used eight years
ago. Most of these missiles landed in the Sea of Japan,
outraging Japanese government who immediately filed
a protest and sent a statement condemning the tests.
Japan is now working with the United Nations, and the
United States, having condemned their tests for some
time, has asked for six-party talks with North Korea.
This means, the United States, Japan, South Korea, China
and Russia are all multilateral participants in the
Japan has suspended links to North Korea in efforts
to hurt its already wavering economy. North Korean citizens,
facing wide-spread poverty and disease caused by malnutrition,
remain uninformed of the current global, political strides.
Missile testing, say some commentators, sends a message
to the world that this internally weak structure is still
a powerhouse with a deadly hold on the future as we know
Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of State, explains:
"The North Koreans have engaged in these weapons
programs for some 20 years or more. This is not something
that just started a couple of years ago. They have been
at this, frankly speaking, since the 1970s." However
North Korea has now, given their actions, made the decision
to abandoned these programs.
With substantial nuclear capability and long-range missiles,
North Korea, a communist-led single party state in East
Asia, has gained a stronghold on bilateral negotiations
with the United States. Yet faced with a standstill in
these negotiations, they've begun using these missile
tests to get what they want. Their request: A non-aggressive
treaty with the United States. Nevertheless, the view
of the United States and allies abroad is that North Korea
is attempting nuclear blackmail.
Negotiation pressures now fall into the hands of China,
North Korea's largest economic partner. But where the
situation heads is yet to be determined. Christopher Hill,
when responding to the U.S. fall-out, explains: "We
are very concerned about this
we have been talking
to our South Korean allies, our Japanese allies. And we're
going to start having some in-depth discussions with the
Chinese. And we're going to see what we can do. What is
very important about this, though, is, we have got to
work together. We have really got to make this a multilateral
process, because it's not a bilateral problem."