North Korea’s recent threats against the U.S. sparks new questions

Sophie Misterek, Layout Assistant

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North Korea has long been a cause of concern for the American government. Now, new threats against the U.S. have many people questioning what North Korea is really capable of.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the death of former South Korean president Park Chung-hee, North Korea retreated more and more into isolation. Now, the majority of their trade is with their neighbor, China.

North Korea has not been lying low, however. They have had five successful nuclear tests from 2006 to 2016. On Monday, Sept. 3, 2017, a sixth bomb was set off. They claim that the most recent test was a hydrogen bomb.

The difference between hydrogen and atomic bombs requires only one extra step, placing a canister of hydrogen gas inside of the plutonium-239. The gas increases the amount of neutrons released within the bomb, which in turn splits more atoms and creates a larger, more dangerous explosion.

“North Korea has this capability [to produce nuclear weapons], all of their money and funding goes into the military and for exploring this technology for nuclear weapons,” said Dan Hrehor, teacher.

North Korea has been testing their bombs underground which has created earthquakes of increasing magnitude with each trial. The test in August measured a 6.3 on the RIchter Scale. This  “…[makes] it the most powerful weapon Pyongyang has ever tested,” said CNN reporter Joshua Berlinger.

Recently, at a meeting of the UN, ambassador Nikki Haley had what the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called a “hysteric fit”. Haley proclaimed that North Korea was “begging for war”.

In response to this, the KCNA said that the U.S. would “pay a dear price” for her outburst.

North Korea has also revealed that they are considering attacking the areas around Guam, a U.S. territory in the West Pacific. Guam contains both an Air Force base and a Naval base, as well as an International Airport. This makes it a very important asset to the U.S., and a good target for North Korea.

President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if they continued to threaten the United States, saying they would “…face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Recently, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean. This is the second North Korean missile to fly over Japan in less than a month, the first having been launched August 29. The second was launched Sept. 15.

The most recent launch travelled around 2,300 miles before landing in the Pacific. The distance from Pyongyang to Guam is just under this. Not only did North Korea demonstrate that they could hit Guam easily, but they are showing the world that they are prepared for combat.

“Their ultimate goal is to gain respect from the world, and they believe that in order to achieve that, it has to be through military might,” said Hrehor.

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North Korea’s recent threats against the U.S. sparks new questions