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North Korean nuclear test reminds world of major threat

Brandon Lesko
Assoc. Opinion Editor

Kim Jong UnWell it seems it’s not too late to refuel that old war with North Korea, since after all, it never really ended.
On Sunday, Feb. 3, North Korean state media released a video depicting a prosperous and united Korean nation juxtaposed against pictures of a burning New York skyline.
In case the finger wasn’t held high enough, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in defiance of U.N. resolutions, world wishes and even its good pal China’s request, North Korea launched its third nuclear test. Yes, just when we thought things might be different with the Disney-loving son of Kim Jong-il at the helm, the new leader, Kim Jong-un, has to go and ruin a good shot at diplomacy by flexing his country’s meager muscle.
The South Korean Defense Ministry estimates the blast to be between six and seven kilotons, a decent improvement over North Korea’s last test in 2009 that yielded an explosion between two and six kilotons, and their test in 2006 that produced a blast of less than one kiloton. To put it in perspective, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the U.S. in 1945 yielded an explosion of 15 kilotons.
It is not yet known whether or not they have the technology to shrink their bombs to a size favorable for a payload on a missile.
Thankfully, there may be one positive from this action that the rest of the world can take away. As expected, the test has been met with widespread international condemnation, and joining the list of the displeased is China, North Korea’s best and strongest ally and the only real barrier keeping their country from being decimated by an international coalition.
Though the Chinese have urged all parties to react calmly, it is not hard to imagine China being forced in the near future to sever its ties to radical North Korea in order to satisfy its trade partners in the region and the West. After all, how long can you continue to support a country that sends its political dissidents to concentration camps, neglects to feed its citizens and forces them to weep in front of statues of the “Dear Leader”, Kim Il-Sung, without threatening your own credibility as a developing superpower?
In this time of failing dictatorships and regime changes in volatile regions of the world (i.e., the Middle East and North Africa), it puzzles me that a regime as oppressive, threatening and maniacal as the one that rules North Korea has been permitted to exist for so long.
We know the citizens themselves are either so brainwashed by the government that they would not revolt or that the citizens who do wish to overthrow the government are locked up in labor camps or worse, dead. It is necessary for foreign powers to liberate the North Korean people and there are plenty of nations such as Japan, South Korea, Britain and of course, the United States, that would be willing to see it through.
The major obstacle to intervention in North Korea is China. However, what do we really have to fear from China? Would they risk a war with all the nations that support its exporting economy just to protect a fringe nation at odds with the region and the rest of the world (besides Iran)? The rational path for China would be to support the dissolution of the North Korean government. Otherwise it would be supporting the destruction of its own economy.
The United States and its allies have spent ample time nation-building in countries that neither wanted nor warranted our help. North Korea is one of the few countries on Earth that must be liberated in order to free a greatly oppressed people and rid the region of an unstable, threatening regime.