North Korea has recently detonated its first hydrogen bomb. This is a serious issue and has security repercussions for the world and the region in general. North Korea argued that it was for its own security purpose.
This has to be looked from a historical perspective. This is the fourth time that North Korea has conducted atomic explosion. First was in 2006, then in 2009, 2013 and now in January 2016.
We also need to remember the fact that after the Korean War from 1950-53 there was only armistice and not peace agreement. North Korea and South Korea have no diplomatic relations and they are still in a state of virtual animosity.
In the year 2002 US President George Bush called the three countries – North Korea, Iran and Iraq – as “Axis of Evil”.
The regime in North Korea feels that it is surrounded on all sides by hostile forces, except China. For example, Japan is trying to expand its military forces by reinterpreting its Pacifist Constitution. It has disputes with China over islands in South China Sea. China is aggressively expanding its military strength. The burgeoning relations of Japan with US and India can be seen in this context.
It seems that North Korea is also threatened by the West and the way they destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hence, nuclear power with North Korea serves them as insurance.
China is the only country, probably, that has relations with North Korea. 80% of NK’s foreign trade is with China. NK is dependent on China for refined petrol and kerosene. Even food exports take place from China to NK. So China has the capacity to pressurize North Korea to relax. But it seems that China is not doing enough to stop NK. It has only voted in the UNSC condemning the tests by the NK in 2013 and now gave official statements condemning the present test.
The DPRK is trying to miniaturize the nuclear devices and also simultaneously developing ICBMs (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) capacity to hit the mainland of USA.
The issue has the potential to destabilize peace in the region because it can create a race for acquiring nuclear weapon power capacity. Also, in the past there were some worrisome incidents like North Korea exchanging missile technology with Pakistan which in turn had exchanged uranium enrichment technology with North Korea.
The UN/UNSC doesn’t seem to have the capacity to take effective measures to check DPRK. This is because the UNSC is losing relevance. It didn’t have as its member, important countries like India. It is the coalition led by West that is largely determining many issues like that of Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
One important question is: what makes the small country which is economically not well to go for nuclear arsenal?
The answer is, the whole country is based on the principle of army first; it is a very authoritarian regime; one family, which now runs into 3rd generation, is controlling the country. People are forced to follow the diktats of the regime and they do not have any freedom/human rights.
In this situation, the only thing that the world can do is express its anger through UN resolution. If at all UN can do anything, it can do only with the intervention of China.