Otto Warmbier, the young University of Virginia student held captive by the North Korean regime for the past 17 months, was pronounced dead a few weeks ago. His death is unjust, sad and horrifying, especially in light of rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.
Warmbier’s death provides proof of the despicable and terroristic nature of the North Korean regime. However, there is more to this puzzle than meets the eye. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un is the culprit of egregious crimes against humanity. He is responsible for starving, torturing and killing millions of his own people.
North Korea needs to be placed on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. This would reflect a more serious intent on the world stage to deal swiftly and strictly with the North Korean problem. In turn, we can expect allies to follow stride.
After years of ignoring violent threats issued by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the time for patience is over. It is imperative that world leaders attack the situation on the Korean Peninsula head on. The Trump administration needs to increase communications with China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and others in the region to ensure a uniform and effective response to the North Korean threat.
China is the most influential country in dealing with North Korea. With a long history of trade, communication, and aid between China and North Korea, Beijing holds the key to peace on the Korean Peninsula. With trade between the two countries having increased by 37.4 percent from the final term of 2016 to the first term of 2017, China controls a large portion of North Korea’s economy. In order to peacefully solve the humanitarian and nuclear problem in North Korea, China’s relationship to the hermit kingdom needs to be utilized by the United States and allies.
Although simple in theory, it would be extremely difficult to work with China regarding North Korea; this is because while the United States ultimately wishes for a single, unified Korea, China stands to benefit from keeping the Jong-Un regime in power with two separate Koreas. To gain access to what seems like the only path to peace on the peninsula, the United States and allies need to compromise to reach an agreement with China on how to proceed.
With North Korea’s nuclear program rapidly gaining momentum, it is becoming more and more feasible for war to break out over tensions. North Korea’s consistent stream of threats against the United states, once delegitimized and laughed at by the Obama administration, is gaining increasing credibility with the approaching possibility of a North Korean missile capable of striking the United States mainland. Already this year Kim Jong-Un has conducted 11 missile tests, defying UN sanctions.
Given North Korea’s constant defiance of UN sanctions, it is entirely incorrect to think they will ever concede to the dismissal of their missile program. Passive diplomacy has not and will not work with North Korea, especially with someone as disturbed and unethical as Kim Jong-Un. Harder stances need to be taken to prevent further crime.
If this issue is not addressed in the upcoming weeks, many more people will fall victim to North Korea’s brutal government, perhaps Americans like Otto Warmbier.