By Hunter Oswald
“If the United States and its allies wish to preserve peace and prosperity in the international community, they must seek peace through strength.”
North Korean Missile Launches
On Tuesday October 18, 2021, the world’s attention was drawn to the abrupt North Korean Ballistic Missile launch from port city of Sinpo, in the Hamgyong province. Reports from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Japanese dignitaries state that around 9am, October 18, 2021, North Korea launched two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea later claimed that these launches were to test their SLBM’s capabilities and increase their defenses. These missile tests, according to North Korea, are also in response to recent U.S, South Korea, and United Nation’s polices towards North Korea, which North Korea deemed the new polices as hostile to its sovereignty.
These missile tests came shortly after a month ago when, on September 28, North Korea claimed to successfully test a hypersonic gliding missile, but according to South Korean intelligence it was a failure. If these reports are true, North Korea will be the 5th nation to start developing hypersonic missiles in the world. These hostile actions by North Korea should both terrify the U.S National Security community as well as United States allies, as North Korea’s focus on experimental warfare is causing a new global crisis.
North Korea’s Link with China
The calls for a universal response from the U.S and it’s allies have been at an all-time high. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has called for a reinforcement of sanctions regarding weapons development in North Korea. While the idea of buttressing current sanctions on North Korea seems like the ideal solution, the idea would fail failure to address the real contributor to North Korea’s military innovations, China.
According to a Congressional Research Service report, China continues to be the essential supporter in North Korea’s nuclear program by exchanging missile technology and providing financial aid. China has been using back channels in Iran and Pakistan to continue their support for North Korea’s Missile programs. These back channels have allowed to assume plausible deniability to avoid any direct international reprisals.
Richard Fisher Jr., Senior Fellow of International Assessment and Strategy Center, stated “North Korea’s new maneuverable missile warhead bears a striking similarity to that on China’s DF-21C precision strike missile and the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile.” Bill Gertz, Reporter for the Washington Times, stated North Korea’s new hypersonic missiles “bears a striking resemblance to China’s DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle.” China’s continual support of North Korea has only emboldened the Kim Regime to pursue its ambitions to obtain more sophisticated conventional capabilities, putting U.S, Asia, and the remaining international community into jeopardy.
The Potential Solution
While the problem with North Korea’s missile testing is blatantly obvious, the solution is not as obvious. The U.S along with its allies, particularly South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia need to engage in further cooperation particularly, from both an economic and military perspective. North Korea’s funding for their programs relies heavily on China’s economic success, which makes North Korea’s funding capabilities very fragile.
If the U.S and its allies impose economic sanctions on China’s manufacturing and service sectors, China would be compelled to cease its support of North Korea as 92.1% of China’s economy would be devastated along with 72.3% of its workforce.
The United States should promote a larger mutual defense pact in Asia that includes Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and others. The pact would allow the U.S. and its allies to develop better defense systems along with more sophisticated and experimental weapons. The initiatives of establishing a mutual defense pact and imposing economic sanctions on China are vital in securing both U.S and our allies’ sovereignty and prosperity.
While North Korea’s missile tests bring increased tension in Asia, there is still hope for the future. Vegetius, a Roman writer during the Late Roman Empire, famously said, “If you want peace, prepare for war”. If the United States and its allies wish to preserve peace and prosperity in the international community, they must seek peace through strength.
Hunter is a sophomore student studying political science and minoring in economics as well as national security. Raised in Liberty township, Ohio, Hunter developed an interest in politics through his passion for history, particularly America’s founding and military experiences. Hunter is the Secretary for the Young American’s Foundation Chapter at Grove City College. Hunter is a staff writer for Cogitare Magazine and contributor for the Grove City College Collegian Newspaper. Hunter is a member of the Grove City Debate Team. He is interested in the fields of international affairs, national security, and economics.
This Past Summer, Hunter Oswald graduated from the Heritage Foundation Academy Program, where he studied numerous public policy issues and America’s foundational principles. He aspires to further use his research and analytical skills in helping to inform the public on policy issues that promote and advance America’s principles.