North Korean Nuclear Test Causes International Concern

Monumental Bronze Statue of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang

Monumental Bronze Statue of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang

North Korea has provoked the international community once again with an underground test of a powerful nuclear weapon, carried out on Monday.  Two days later, they renounced the armistice which halted the Korean War in 1953 (the war really never officially ended).  In response, as this article from MSNBC relates, U.S. and South Korean forces are on their highest level of alert since 2006.

The situation with North Korea is quickly emerging as a major foreign policy challenge for the Obama Administration, and we can expect U.S. reaction to be very closely scrutinized both here and abroad.  At stake is the stability of the Pacific region, efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, and possibly an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.  Indeed, the threat is extremely serious:  even in the event of mere conventional warfare, the North Koreans have one of the largest standing armies in the world, and the South Korean capital, Seoul, is within range of North Korean artillery and rocket launchers. 

Needless to say, the actions of the North Koreans and their leader, Kim Jong Il, remain as baffling as ever. 

If you would like to learn more about North Korea, and especially the nuclear threat they present, try some of these books from Greensboro Public Library’s collection:  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (on order); The Reluctant Communist:  My Desertion, Court-martial, and Forty-year Imprisonment in North Korea by Charles Robert Jenkins; Meltdown:  The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis by Mike Chinoy; North Korea by Tara Walters (juvenile); Kim Jong Il’s North Korea by Alison Behnke (juvenile); Failed Diplomacy:  The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb by Charles L. Pritchard; Crisis on the Korean Peninsula:  How to Deal with a Nuclear North Korea by Michael O’Hanlon and Mike Mochizuki; North Korea:  Another Country by Bruce Cumings; Nuclear Showdown:  North Korea Takes on the World by Gordon G. Chang; Pyongyang:  A Journey Through North Korea by Guy Delisle; Rogue Regime:  Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea by Jasper Becker; and Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader:  North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin.    

You can also read articles about North Korea in Facts on File’s World News Digest.

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