Mike Ko Personal Portfolio


Home-School Education
Hong Kong

University of Durham
Bachelor of Science
United Kingdom

2017 - 2018
United Kingdom

    A Tenuous Equilibrium in North Korea

         North Korea has always been a bit of an enigma of the world, a hermit nation that nonetheless dominates the news headlines every so often. Antagonising rhetoric, mysterious political power plays, even international assassination form part of its puzzling story. The country has been caught in a deadlock with the United States – and indeed most of the world – for several decades, an enduring legacy of the Korean War. Nothing much has changed in the occasionally fiery relationship between North Korea and the international community, but the communist state has not been idle as it hones its nuclear arsenal. Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, it is claimed that North Korea has intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the entire United States mainland.

      With the introduction of Donald Trump as President, the US can now match North Korea in inflammatory rhetoric. Between social media insults and continued missile tests, there has never been a more probable time that the fragile peace of the Korean Peninsula will give way to renewed open conflict.

         Or is it? North Korea might have nuclear weapons wielded by an apparently unpredictable leader in charge, yet open war might be quite undesirable. It is an open secret that the communist nation has faced drought and famine for years, and its military force can do little more than firing missiles. With no clear allies on the world stage, an international invasion of North Korea may be less difficult than often imagined. On the other side of the aisle, the United States has little to gain from an invasion. The present stalemate offers no legitimate reason to do so and further foreign intervention may prove unpopular with Americans. The same can generally be said for North Korea’s neighbours. Japan and South Korea may be willing to leave the situation as it is in the absence of serious provocations. China and Russia – the closest countries North Korea can allies – seems content in letting their socialist comrades antagonise and distract the United States.

         Ultimately, the stakes might be raised with North Korea’s increased nuclear capabilities, but nuclear weapons today mostly serve as deterrents anyway. The world is still in the same tenuous equilibrium it has been in for the past decades.

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