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  • Writer's pictureMaahik Trivedi

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Diplomatic Relations & Global Involvement

Tensions between North and South Korea continue to rise as both nations make alliances internationally (Micha Brändli, Unpslash)

Currently, North Korea is a significant point of international concern due to its nuclear goals, established under Kim Jong Un’s leadership. Recent actions that have brought North Korea into the public eye include missile tests and nuclear strike drills. At the moment, countries are trying to solve these disputes diplomatically instead of resorting to military action.

General Updates

Recently, North Korea started testing nuclear missiles in its eastern waters. This, combined with their nuclear strike drills, has increased tensions with the U.S. and its allies. North Korea also houses an abundance of conventional artillery, which poses a threat to South Korea. More recently, there have been concerns surrounding North Korea’s increasing diplomatic relations with China and Russia, two countries on shaky terms with the U.S.

Many countries are trying to strengthen relations with North Korea, a notable example being the Biden administration’s proposed talks with the country. Although, on July 18, Travis King, an American soldier, defected to North Korea from South Korea after being released on assault charges. Reportedly, he had damaged a South Korean squad car and yelled profanities at the Koreans, resulting in 48 days in jail. This act of defection has restored much of the diplomatic tensions.

In the meantime, the U.S. has posted an advisory against travel to North Korea, as many U.S. nationals have been detained for long periods in the country. North Korea also lacks U.S. emergency services, which could prove problematic (although Sweden represents U.S. citizens in emergencies).

Assessing the Current State of North-South Korean Relations

President Yoon of South Korea has made it clear that he values diplomacy and would rather solve problems with North Korea diplomatically than with military action. However, this has not stopped him from working with the United States to enhance the South Korean military and improve relations with Japan.

Japan, The United States, Russia, and China’s Involvement

Japan, the U.S., and South Korea had their Camp David summit in August 2023. The summit reinforced their commitment to cooperation and focused on several issues, including military exercises, contingency plans, and economic security. All three nations have aimed to deter any aggressive actions from North Korea and are trying to handle the situation diplomatically.

While Japan and the U.S. improved relations with South Korea, North Korea has strengthened its ties with China and Russia. They are currently working to generate foreign currency income and have been cooperating on numerous military activities. Russia has reportedly proposed conducting three-way naval exercises with North Korea and China.

On September 13, President Putin met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the space launch center in the Russian Far East, putting South Korea and its allies on high alert. Many speculate that there were talks on space-related cooperation. This summit gained attention due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the possibility of military cooperation between both countries.

The future of these diplomatic relations on the Korean peninsula remains uncertain. At the moment, both sides (North Korea and South Korea) have made their share of allies, but nothing is certain.



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