The North Korean Saga And Solution
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s Dictator and oppressor has launched over eighty missiles and detonated four nuclear weapons in his short six years as Supreme Leader of the oppressed nation of North Korea which has over 25 million people. His last nuclear detonation is claimed by North Korea to have been a hydrogen bomb approximately ten times more powerful than its last nuclear detonation.
The question is why does Kim Jong-un need a nuclear arsenal? His reasoning is a deterrent from attacks by the United States or other aggressive nations. But, as I pointed out at a recent Asia Pacific Subcommittee hearing I convened to discuss the nuclear threat posed by the Kim regime, “Who wants to invade North Korea? Really, what do they have that anyone wants in the 21st century”?
Mr. Kim and the Kim family for the past 70 years have convinced their people, the citizens of North Korea; that the United States and other nations want to invade. He does this to justify starving his people, while he and his inner circle live a life of luxury. To help sustain this lifestyle and grow his illicit weapons programs, Kim farms his own people out as slave laborers so that he can use those proceeds to further his nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Kim needs a reality check. All one has to do to see the impact of his family’s brutal rule in North Korea is to look at satellite imagery of both North and South Korea at night to see the stark contrast between the two nation’s economic and industrial development.. As a participant in the global economy, South Korea has become the United States’ 6th largest trading partner, with many of its citizens achieving a high-standard of living. But on the other hand, it is Mr. Kim’s selfish quest for a nuclear weapon that continues to further isolate North Korea, with his citizens footing the bill.
It is also interesting to note the economy of Vietnam after the unification between the North and South post the Vietnam War. Although still communist in rule, Vietnam has flourished by opening up its economy to the free market. They have created manufacturing jobs and raised the GDP both nationally and individually by focusing on growing their economy through trade. They are now the United States 16th largest trading partner.
Both South Korea and Vietnam did this without a nuclear arsenal for deterrence or protection. In fact, there are no nuclear weapons in either country.
Keeping this example in mind, Mr. Kim, and the Korean people would be better served to suspend his nuclear and ballistic missile testing and begin negotiations to bring the escalation and threat of a nuclear conflict to an end. A nuclear war will aid no one on the Korean Peninsula or elsewhere. It will disrupt all nations at great costs.
Mr. Kim, we implore and invite you to bring your country into the 21st century and not remain a nation that will continually be sanctioned and isolated. Yes, Ronald Reagan’s quote of, “peace through strength” was true then and remains so today. However, it’s not just strength in a nation’s arsenal but strength in economies that creates peace. The solution, now, as it has always been, is to focus on the things that will make you, your people, and the rest of the planet stronger. The choice is yours. Please choose wisely.
Congressman Ted Yoho serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in the U.S. House of Representatives.