North Korea, the notoriously reclusive nation long known for its erratic and aggravating behavior is once again in the international headlines, as they become a growing nuclear threat. In 2006 they became a nuclear power, detonating a weak nuclear device in an underground test. They have tested other nuclear detonations since, with the strength of the explosions increasing considerably. On January 6, 2016 seismic activity was detected in North Korea. North Korean officials claimed this to be a hydrogen bomb, a type of nuclear bomb far more powerful than an atomic bomb. However, many nations and organizations have stated that it could not have been a hydrogen bomb and was simply a slightly more powerful atomic bomb than they previously used.
North Korea’s most recent aggravation of the global community? On February 7, 2016 North Korea launched a long-range rocket, which put a satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4, into orbit. However, South Korean officials have noted the uselessness of this satellite, and are looking at possible ulterior motives North Korea. Many believe that, due to the great similarities between an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile(ICBM) which are used to deliver nuclear warheads over long distances, and rockets used to carry objects into orbit, North Korea is testing methods of delivery for the nuclear devices that they have now developed.
Because of the actions of North Korea on February 7, and recent months, a emergency United Nations security council meeting was called. South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and France have all condemned and criticized the missile launch, largely because it violates United Nations Security Resolutions.
United States officials have of course condemned and criticized the actions of North Korea, but there is little more that the United States can do to North Korea without taking military action. Economic sanctions are difficult to place on North Korea, because the United State already has extremely small amounts of trade with North Korea, with North Korea conducting 98% of its trade with China. Diplomatic communications are also difficult, as North Korea is very reclusive, and militaristic with strained United States relations to say the least. The United States have discussed placing a missile defense system in South Korea to defend against any threat posed by North Korea, although China is greatly opposed to the idea.