The threat of nuclear war has been a concern for countries around the world. The fallout from atomic bombs would not only take millions of innocent lives, but it would also destroy the land for generations to come, making it difficult – even impossible in some areas – to grow food because of contaminated soil. To prevent such a horrific event, countries’ leaders got together in 1985 to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to reduce nuclear weapons and increase peaceful cooperation.
This is why it is so important that President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, continue with their peace talks. Throughout the years, representatives and other US officials have met with North Korea, but never has a US sitting president visited the country until Trump.
Recently, Kim Jong-un sent a letter to the president, inviting him to Pyongyang to hold a third summit to discuss denuclearization. This is a good step in coming to agreeable terms.
North Korea’s Continued Missile Testing
Despite decades of agreements and promises, North Korea secretly worked on creating and testing nuclear missiles. After signing the NPT, the country continued to construct test sites and conduct tests. In 1994, the US and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework wherein the country committed to freezing its plutonium weapons program as well as halting construction on nuclear reactors. In response, the US pledged to provide sanctions relief, aid, and oil.
However, in the early 2000s, Pyongyang admitted to running a secret uranium program to power nuclear weapons and revealed plans to reactivate a nuclear plant in Yongbyon. Then, it withdrew from the NPT.
In 2005, the US Treasury Department froze $25 million held by North Korea. In 2006, nearly 30 years after first signing the denuclearization agreement, the country carried out its first nuclear test, conducted underground. During that same year, it also tested seven short, medium, and long-range ballistic missiles. The United Nations Security Council responded by issuing condemnations and trade sanctions.
Former President Barack Obama opted for what he termed “strategic patience” in regards to North Korea’s continued testing during his presidency. During that time, missile and nuclear testing continued even more, and the country’s ballistic missile capabilities improved.
When Donald Trump took office, he was very hard on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. But when they had their first summit, the outcome was perceived as a good step in the right direction. While there is a lot of tension between the two countries, the fact that Kim Jong-un reached out to Trump provides hope that denuclearization and peace are now foreseeable.