Authors: Ifaz Mahmud Mahi and Md. Obaidullah
Hallyu! The Korean wave, often known as the K-wave, is the surge in global popularity of South Korean culture from the 1990s. It displays South Korea’s rich and vibrant popular culture, which has an impact on the global creative industries of film, theater, music, fandom, beauty, and fashion. Owing to the increase in internet and social media use, such as Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, the wave initially began in Southeast and South Asia later expanding globally. Anyway, one percent of South Korea’s budget went for cultural organizations in 2014, and the country also raised $1 billion for popular culture. Since 2020, the Korean wave has been headed by K-pop, with standout bands such as BTS and Blackpink, followed by K-dramas.
Korea’s culture started to advance in the 1980s. In 1986, Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, and other companies opened their distribution office in South Korea. However, by 1994, the local film industry’s proportion of the market had fallen. In order to expand its media industry and attract investors, the South Korean Ministry of Culture established a cultural industry bureau. Later in 2000, S. M. Entertainment’s boy band H. O. T. became the first modern K-pop act to give an international performance, with a sold-out show in Beijing, while My Sassy Girl was a box office blockbuster across East Asia in 2001.
Subsequently, Hallyu 2.0, the second wave, adopting digital and social media, with a broader focus on Korean pop music, video games, and animation, started to emerge around 2007. Since Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video went viral and became the first YouTube video to surpass one billion views in 2012–2013, Korean culture products have become more and more popular.
Furthermore, the story continued with the third and current generation of the Korean wave. Hallyu 3.0, which began in the mid-2010s targeting more regions. The rise and spread of K-pop groups such as BTS, Blackpink and new YouTube contents like Mukbang videos have become characteristic of Hallyu 3.0. Netflix invested a figure reaching $700 million from 2015 to 2020 in South Korea. After the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean variety shows picked up more interest among foreigners, K-dramas and Korean games. BTS, Blackpink and Psy were the most popular in K-pop category outside of South Korea during the pandemic. In 2017, Korean Netflix original movie Okja was funded by Netflix. Afterwards, in 2019 Parasite won several awards at international film festivals, for instance, by winning two Academy Awards in 2020 for Best Picture and Best International Film. According to Netflix streaming statistics for Asia in 2020, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky overtook other Netflix documentaries as the most popular in various nations. Additionally, “Alive” recently attracted a sizable fan base in the Korean film category. According to Duolingo’s report of 2020, Korean has become the second fastest growing language on the platform and the seventh most popular language of study. Victoria and Albert Museum, further, will conduct an exhibition from September 2022 to June 2023 which will showcase the unprecedented rise of Korean wave at a global stage.
Korean popular culture, meanwhile, offers a blend of western and Asian values which increases its chance of being accepted in countries that are attracted to western culture and share similar values. As a result, K-dramas and movies are the second most popular Korean cultural export in Bangladesh. Not to mention Squid Game, which has ranked first on Bangladesh’s viewership list. Korean dramas show family ties such as caring for their children, taking care of their old parents, sibling love and quality romantic love stories for the audiences to enjoy. Needless to say, these cultural values are similar to Bangladeshi cultural values which are working as a supporting element to accept Korean culture by the Bangladeshi youths.
K-pop plays another vital role in hallyu in Bangladesh, undoubtedly. Korean music themes and lyrics are designed to attract the Audience. Many of their songs are indicated to issues regarding friendship, love, determination and how to overcome the depression of any kind which is attractive to youth not just in Bangladesh but all over the world. But in recent years K-pop has become more known to Bangladeshi young generation because of the internet and social media. Consequently, there raised a lot of online business to sell K-pop idol’s t-shirt, badge, ring, bag or ornaments for girls.
Even the famous band BTS will come to Bangladesh in 2022. Continuous consumption of Korean pop culture and growing interest in Korean culture seems to have a huge lingual influence on the young generation of Bangladesh. Most of the members of their fanbase use the Korean words like ‘Oppa’, ‘Kul’, ‘Chingu’ etc more or less in their everyday language. Through the influence of Korean culture, Bangladeshi youths are adopting the Korean language which is an indication of initiating cultural hybridization.
Another huge impact of Korean wave in Bangladesh is the beauty and fashion follower. Korean people are very conscious about fairness. Their fashion style attracts the attention of young people. A lot of Korean beauty shops are opening in Bangladesh where many of the shops in a shopping mall or online stores are already highly demanding. Korean fashionable dresses are also becoming popular among the youths in Bangladesh and males try to follow the fashionable dressing of k-pop idols.
Then comes the case with Korean food, particularly Korean style ramen. The availability of Korean ramen and ramen sauce in Bangladeshi shops is noteworthy. Whereas the average Bangladeshi adult will almost always opt for a local product, in contrast, a younger generation are more likely to pick up the packet of Korean ramen.
The hybridity of Korean popular culture is appealing to the Bangladeshi consumers because they can relate to their own cultural ethos, and it also contains western culture elements. Korean wave offers a perfect mixture of both western and traditional Korean culture in their products which represents the glocalization process. In the case of Bangladesh, it can be seen that the people of Bangladesh are also becoming a part of South Korea’s glocalization process.
The Bangladeshi youth are obsessed with Korean dramas, movies and songs in lieu of listening Bengali songs or watching Bengali dramas. Expert says, k-dramas demonstrate unrealistic view of human life, which may augment viewers’ expectations from others or relationships, and it can lead to the anxiety and depression.
Moreover, this Korean culture can be considered as cultural aggression in Bangladesh as we are going through a cultural crisis for the last few years. After 2000s, Indian culture entered here rapidly and we saw the terrific impact of it, not to mention, child committed suicide for PAKHI dress in 2014. The fanbase of BTS or Korean culture are rising and people are following them blindly specially girls, forgetting our own culture. It’s time to rethink about the abysmal impact of k-wave, it should be controlled, and our culture must be spread, or else we will face horrific consequences in the long run.
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The visit of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in early August can be considered a landmark event in the development of the Taiwan problem. This even had an impact on formal assessments: a few days after the visit, China published a White Paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era”. This is only the third white paper on the Taiwan issue ever issued by the PRC.
The first of them was published in 1993, in the wake of optimism associated with the growth of China’s international role, as well as the restoration of economic and, in part, political ties between the mainland and the island. It outlined the Chinese point of view on the history of the issue and the Chinese vision of the principles for its resolution (a peaceful reunification within the framework of the “one country-two systems” concept). The White Book, as an important component, included the rules of conduct with regards to several points, which China’s diplomatic partners should adhere to in their relationship with the island.
The second White Book, released in early 2000, was published ahead of the fateful Taiwanese presidential election, which was won by the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian. This White Paper paid much attention to the previous one, but also paid significant attention to criticising and clarifying the Chinese position regarding various separatist forces in Taiwanese politics.
The new White Paper has a separate paragraph on “victory over separatists and external interference”, which directly points to the role of “certain forces in the United States” in inciting separatism on the island and undermining security in the Taiwan Strait. The White Paper emphasises that the determination of the people of China to solve the Taiwan problem should not be underestimated. Of course, it is repeated that China is committed to the peaceful path of reunification, but will not exclude the possibility of using force.
The new stage of Chinese policy towards Taiwan will most likely be characterised by the more active use of military instruments of pressure on the island. With a formal commitment to a peaceful solution to the problem (the White Paper emphasises that the use of force is possible only as a last resort in response to separatism), the real possibilities for “peaceful reunification” are narrowing.
According to data from public opinion polls in Taiwan, there is virtually no significant number of reunification supporters in the near future.
The majority of Taiwanese (about 54%) are in favour of maintaining the status quo, i.e. for the continued existence of the island as an unrecognised state with an extensive network of international business and humanitarian ties and special relations with the United States and a number of other countries. However, about 25% are in favour of a gradual movement towards formal independence, and about 5% are in favour of an accelerated movement towards independence – even despite the risk of a military clash with the mainland. Only a little over 1% are in favour of speedy unification and about 6% are in favour of a smooth movement towards reunification.
The unrest in Hong Kong in 2019 played an important role in the evolution of sentiments regarding relations with the mainland in Taiwan, which, despite the restraint shown by the Chinese authorities (military formations from the mainland did not enter into the territory and were not used to contain riots), led to the discrediting of the “one country, two systems” concept. However, the Hong Kong factor only consolidated and strengthened trends in Taiwanese politics driving it away from the PRC, which had taken place even before.
Thus, the “peaceful reunification” looks problematic. China has been able to build a powerful infrastructure for economic influence on Taiwan, becoming a key trade and industrial partner for the island. Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese live and do business in the mainland.
But the PRC has been unable to convert this economic influence and human connections into real political influence in Taiwan. Since the return of the Democratic Progressive Party to power in the 2016 elections, the situation in relations with China has steadily deteriorated.
The PRC Anti-Separatism Law of 2005 considers the exhaustion of peaceful reunification options as a possible reason for launching a “non-peaceful” reunification operation. China avoids setting any time frame for the completion of the reunification process, but emphasises that it cannot “wait forever.” From time to time, there are “leaks” and comments from Chinese experts that some kind of “deadline” still exists, for example, 2027 is the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army of China.
Against the backdrop of an already unfavourable situation, China is also facing a sharp intensification of military, military-technical and political ties between the United States and Taiwan. For example, in 2020, the volume of contracts for the export of American weapons to Taiwan exceeded $5.1 billion. From 2010 to the beginning of 2021, deliveries worth $23 billion were announced. Supply volumes could spike if the US congress passes the Lend-Lease Bill for Taiwan, which is currently under discussion.
The Trump administration began, (and Biden continued) the practice of gradually increasing the level of contacts between officials within the two countries. An important event was the first meeting since 1979 of US national security adviser John Bolton with his Taiwanese counterpart David Lee in 2019. The practice of US military visits to the island to participate in the combat training of Taiwanese colleagues has intensified.
The American arguments: that Pelosi made the visit on her own, almost contradictng the White House and that therefore the visit does not mean a change in policy, have had no effect on the Chinese – they simply do not believe them. The sharp deterioration in relations is evidenced by the fact that Chinese leader Xi Jinping made direct threats to the United States during a telephone conversation with US President Joseph Biden on July 28, four days before Pelosi’s visit. This is the only way to interpret the phrase uttered by the Chinese leader: “if you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned. Such harsh expressions during contacts at the highest level are extremely unusual for the Chinese.
Thus, from the point of view of the PRC, an extremely alarming, unbearable situation has developed on the Taiwan issue: there is a simultaneous increase in separatist sentiments inside the island, an increase of American military assistance to the island, and an accelerated erosion of the One China policy by the United States. The answer was the mobilisation of the resources of the Chinese state to resolve the Taiwan issue in a short time period, if necessary, with the use of force.
At the moment, it seems that large-scale exercises of the PRC armed forces around the island with violations of the existing informal lines of demarcation (the median line in the Taiwan Strait) are likely to become almost permanent. The PRC will build up economic pressure on Taiwan, introducing more and more formal and informal sanctions against the island’s economy, which is very vulnerable to them. Official sanctions have been imposed on Nancy Pelosi and her family, and dialogue with the United States has been suspended on a wide range of issues. China’s attention to the positions of other countries regarding the Taiwan problem has grown.
It is likely that serious military and economic pressure on the island will continue for a long time. We can talk about the beginning of another (fourth) security crisis in the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese will measure pressure against trends in Taiwanese politics and US activity in the region. If the leadership of the PRC comes to the conclusion that time has started to work against it, due to the further rapid deterioration of the political situation on the island and the acceleration of the growth of American military supplies, then the demonstrative military exercises are likely to develop into a real military intervention to ensure the reunification of the island with the mainland by force.
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In 1978, Estonian-American editorial cartoonist, Edmund Siegfried Valtman, drew a huge dragon labelled China, with Mao Zedong’s head breathing flames on a bear marked with a sickle and hammer. At that time, the image portrayed the growing tensions between China and Russia and the Chinese rebuff of a Soviet offer to discuss border disputes and improve relations. Many would argue that the image was not an accurate representation of reality, considering the might of the Soviet Union even before it embroiled itself in a decade-long resource-draining mess in Afghanistan. But today, if one replaces Mao with Xi and the bear with Uncle Sam, not many would argue against the image conveying the changing realities.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, China has gathered both condemnation and admiration. While some blamed it for unleashing the ‘bio-weapon’ on the world, which has, till now, consumed more than six million lives worldwide, others appreciated its policies and success in controlling the spread and its international humanitarian actions. But when poked hard over the virus’s origins, the Chinese government and diplomats turned to ‘wolf-warriors’, aggressively rebuking any attempts to impose accountability on Beijing. But even before the pandemic, signs of the Chinese dragon getting ready to breathe fire were visible. During the Trump administration, China and the US engaged in a trade war which caused ripples felt across continents. But, before that, Beijing showed that it no longer looked to ‘hide its power and bide its time’ by actively altering the status quo in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
Today, the dragon’s ambitions encompass economic, military, technological, and political domains. As a result, China worries not only the likes of the US, the EU, Japan, and the UK—some of the great powers of the last century—but also India, Australia, and South Korea, the neighbouring middle powers. As China rises, all the countries mentioned above will look to manage increasing anxieties and questions in their societies, which seek to decrypt Chinese objectives and motivations. However, these questions also extend to Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world, where China has successfully increased its presence over the last decade.
Understanding these developments through a holistic perspective is indeed a monumental task. To fathom the power of the dragon’s fire, one needs to understand its motivations, strengths, vulnerabilities, and how others today perceive the dragon. This also needs comprehending the Chinese soft power, China’s longstanding role as the ‘factory of the world’, the internal ethnic movements that worry the government, and the transforming self-image in Chinese society. And this is what the father-son duo—Dr Mohammed Kheir Alwadi and Dr Karim Alwadi—has been able to remarkably achieve in their work ‘Chinaphobia – A Wasted Opportunity’.
Mohammed Kheir served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for the Syrian Arab Republic in the People’s Republic of China between 2000-08. In 2009, he founded the China and Asia Research Centre. Infusing his experiences both as an ambassador and as an observer in China, he has written many books and articles on international affairs and Chinese-Arab relations. His son, Karim Alwadi, is a Beijing-based political scientist with a PhD in International Politics from China Foreign Affairs University. He is a Fellow of Ren Min University Middle East and African Studies Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Governance and Development, Tong Ji University, Shanghai.
The book is conveniently divided into four chapters which take the reader through the reasons behind the growth of ChinaPhobia, the means of hostility towards China, its ambition for global leadership and several urgent questions arising from China’s rise. The father-son duo lay the premise for the book by drawing parallels to the Cold War era before diving deep into China’s fast and furious economic growth. The authors then underline the shifting centre of global geopolitical gravity to Asia while explaining the absence of any coherent strategy for countering the changing dynamics. The book then highlights China’s neighbourhood, covering the historical underpinnings and the ongoing developments along China’s land and maritime borders. Going beyond the statistics-laden approach, the duo discusses the political and societal perspectives on these issues and how it affects the region. In the next part, the book provides a comprehensive view of the Chinese soft power. While much literature exists on this theme, ChinaPhobia impressively focuses on the problems faced by Chinese soft power and why it feels insecure.
The authors then provide a realistic assessment of the Belt and Road Initiative, underlining its rationale, achievements, and failures and how it is being perceived worldwide, especially in the countries where the projects are ongoing. This part also looks at the ‘debt trap’ narrative and how it originated from Beijing’s lack of experience in foreign investment projects and its deeply-rooted inability to grasp constructive criticism. Finally, the authors provide an in-depth overview of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s international standing and the repercussions of its wolf-warrior diplomacy.
In Chapter 2, the authors explore some of the most pertinent ways through which ChinaPhobia is instilled—beginning from the historical context, the duo analyses the arms race between the West and China, the recent trade wars, and the Uighur/Xinjiang and Tibet issues. In Chapter 3, the book decodes the basis of China’s ambitions for global leadership. It differentiates between Beijing’s hegemonic aspirations to dominate the world by altering the status quo and avenging its experiences during the century of humiliation, from its ambitions to change the global balance and be treated as an equal at the international high tables. The chapter further looks at the role of Yuan in China’s journey ahead and the role of intellectuals and research centres in countering ChinaPhobia.
Finally, in chapter 4, the authors deliberate upon several questions that emerge from ChinaPhobia. The duo presents a fair assessment of the winners and losers of this situation while looking at the possibilities for ChinaPhobia becoming an international phenomenon. The chapter also attempts to put forth some anecdotes for mitigating the rising ChinaPhobia for China and the world.
This work draws strength from decades of microscopic observations on Chinese political and societal levels. Throughout the book, the authors stress the dire need for self-introspection in Beijing and Washington and a return to a more realistic, pragmatic, and engaging approach. The book has comprehensively covered the Chinese inability to convey a clear and transparent objective and its repercussions that are now visible across the world. The duo opines that the international ‘honeymoon’ with China is almost over and that China’s rise is inevitable. At the same time, the book reflects upon China’s hesitation in taking on the responsibilities that come with the tag of ‘global power’.
While the book does not shy away from presenting several issues concerning China’s rise with clarity and critique, it does leave some questions unanswered. The duo has looked into the overall developments in the African, Latin America, Central Asia, and Southeast Asian regions and touched upon themes like India-China border disputes in brief. Though the authors have highlighted several examples of Beijing’s devious tactics in its political and economic engagements, the book does not highlight many of Beijing’s extremely wily strategies, which have come to light in recent years. In several opinions, more than China’s economic rise and changing societal perspective, this phenomenon has made others sceptical of China’s modus operandi.
Another absence in the book is a comparative analysis between the ChinaPhobia, and China’s Phobia. At several junctures, the duo have highlighted how Chinese society harbours a strong and perennial suspicion toward the rest of the world. The authors also present several examples showcasing the increasing arrogance and snobbishness in China’s young generations and its political and diplomatic circles. This invokes the question of ‘China’s Phobia’.
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to understand how the world perceives and reacts to China’s rise. It asks several tough questions while refraining from making any bold predictions. Looking at both sides of the coin, the authors have brought forth a thought-provoking account in a splendid manner.
North Korea became a nuclear-weapons state in 2006 after successfully performing a nuclear test. It is estimated that it has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 30 to 40 warheads. North Korea was a signatory to NPT until 2003, when it dropped out. North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, and after six-party discussions, North Korea agreed to shut down all its key reactors and allow IAEA inspections, but it conducted its second nuclear test in May 2009. North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, despite international condemnation.
In September 2017, North Korea successfully conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb with a yield of 100 kilotons that could be delivered by an ICBM. North Korea is concerned about its security and survival and nuclear weapons provide the sense of security which is the reason for the former’s nuclear tests. North Korea’s authoritarian regime is of the view that states like Libya and Iraq were vulnerable as they did not possess weapons of mass destruction and the major powers like the US were successful in changing their regimes. According to reports, North Korea also has biological and chemical weapons, which is a source of concern for the entire world, particularly its neighbors. Even though North Korea is a signatory to the Biological Convention, it is suspected that it has causal agents such as anthrax, smallpox, Botulism, and other diseases. North Korea, on the other hand, is said to have a substantial stockpile of chemical weapons, ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 tons.
Diplomatic Relations of North Korea with Southeast Asian Region
In at least four areas, North Korea maintains positive connections with Southeast Asia: diplomatic presence, visa-free travel, licit trade volume, and illegal economic and financial activity. To begin with, North Korea maintains a strong diplomatic presence throughout Southeast Asia. North Korea has embassies and diplomatic personnel in at least ten countries in South and Southeast Asia, according to statistics from the East-West Center and the National Committee on North Korea: Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are among the countries represented. North Korea also participated in regional multilateral conferences. In summer 2017, a delegation led by DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong, as well as other participants in the ill-fated Six Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, visited the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum. It’s not just about the diplomatic and economic ties. With security challenges both inside and outside the area, Southeast Asia has become a major site for illegal commercial and financial activity. With the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, the arms transfer operation with Malaysia has been publicly reported. These two occurrences brought attention to North Korea’s presence in Malaysia and the region. North Korea’s involvement in unlawful activities is not limited to Malaysia; it also extends to other countries. North Korean counterfeit cash was first discovered in the Philippines in 1989. From 2001 to 2015, the Philippines was the target of several North Korean criminal operations and activities. It also served as the major staging area for the 2016 interdiction of vessels flying the North Korean flag in violation of UNSCR 2270.
US Involvement in the Southeast Region
The US policy in the Korean Peninsula is part of a larger framework, as the US is concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons on a global scale, and on a broader scale, the US works with North Korea to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, which can be described as a strategic interest for the US. In a regional context, the United States strives for balance since South Korea is reliant on US extended deterrence. The worldwide interest stems mostly from the United States’ desire to maintain its position as a global leader, which necessitates efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
At the regional level, the United States strives to establish a balance between states to prevent states from engaging in an arms race. At the regional level, the United States strives to establish a balance between states to prevent states from engaging in an arms race. Only Japan’s acceptance of the United States as its security supplier, as well as South Korea’s, is preventing a weapons race between the two countries. In East Asia, US strategy is intertwined with China’s as it strives to deal with China and North Korea through its security alliance with Japan and South Korea, achieving the goal of preventing another hegemon from influencing the region. The United States is working to prevent a war between the two Koreas on the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, through the influence of the US on the ASEAN states, although North Korea was not fully excluded from the regional conference, ASEAN released a statement in August strongly condemning the country’s missile testing and other security acts, which have harmed regional peace and stability. Malaysia terminated visa-free travel for North Korean citizens early this year and restricted travel to North Korea for Malaysian people in late September. This is a significant step for the only country that allows citizens to visit North Korea without a visa. In 2017, India, the Philippines, and Singapore have all announced trade restrictions.
Implications for the Region
The development of nuclear weapons by the DPRK has gotten a lot in the highlights because of the strategic implications. The DPRK’s continued nuclear development has serious consequences for the East Asian area. These trends are likely to jeopardize the peninsula’s previously maintained deterrence stability. North Korea, as a rogue state, could attack South Korea. In addition, the DPRK’s actions may encourage other countries in the region, such as South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, to build nuclear weapons to maintain deterrence. This could result in the spread of nuclear weapons in the region. The initial developments centered on increasing pressure on North Korea, with the US focusing not just on North Korea’s ostensibly illicit and/or weapons-grade commercial activity, but more broadly. The emphasis has moved to acting. The Chinese government’s attitude toward North Korea looks to be changing. Analysts have questioned the government’s threat of secondary penalties against Chinese banks, citing the intertwined economies of the US and China, as well as the large financial presence of several of the banks identified in the US. As a result, China’s position shifts. However, some of the groups involved in pushing sanctions evasion believe that this step will allow North Korea to continue “legitimate trade” and that sanctions will not be included in the order. It differs from previous Chinese assertions that it solely applies to weapons-related actions and actors. Even if it is not expressly stated, the endorsement of this principle by the Chinese government and/or Chinese trade and finance personnel will have a significant impact on China’s position. This may result in the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the region. Even though the US nuclear umbrella is now seen as sufficient to deter the DPRK, these countries may pursue nuclear weapons in the long run. This trend of advanced weapon testing has generated a regional arms race, especially on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea, for example, fired four missiles in September 2021, including a cruise missile, a ballistic missile, and a hypersonic missile, causing South Korea to conduct submarine-launched ballistic missile tests for the first time (SLBM). South Korea’s countermeasure of building SLBMs implies that it is unlikely to rely on the US’s extended deterrence in the long run and may instead choose for more powerful armament to secure its security. It’s worth noting that the majority of South Koreans support the development of nuclear weapons to safeguard the country’s security. This could spark an arms race in East Asia, destabilizing deterrence stability and, as a result, destabilizing the region. Japan also possesses a huge stockpile of plutonium, which is a source of concern for the West. Furthermore, these developments may encourage North Korea to start a war with South Korea, which would have long-term regional and international consequences. The evolution of the United States’ and China’s positions on North Korea is expected to define these nations’ involvement in sanctions enforcement, but some support for expanding their capacity is likely to be required for enforcement to reach its full potential.
North Korea’s actions are causing instability in an already volatile region, making it a possible threat to East Asian regional stability. Relations between the two Koreas have never been stable in the past, and the growth of military technology is making it impossible to maintain a regional equilibrium. Both North and South Korea’s ties are currently shaky, as both have tested new weapons, implying that South Korea has plans to develop nuclear weapons, which would make it hard to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The United States’ participation is critical in that it assures Japan and South Korea that they will not pursue nuclear weapons and will stay reliant on its extended deterrence. In 2017, increased involvement in China and Southeast Asia may alter the argument. In the next months, North Korea may experience increasing pressure, particularly if enforcement is tightened. The question is whether North Korea is under enough pressure to change course. The solution isn’t clear, but the administration appears to be on its way to finding it. As a result, bets on Southeast Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, are more expensive than long-term bets.
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