President Trump threatens “total annihilation,” Kim Jong-Un forecasts America’s “miserable end.” As the two leaders continue their dangerous flirtation with military conflict, experts frantically analyze what might happen if a conflict between the two countries actually occurred. The prognosis is grim; a conflict would likely leave thousands or millions dead, even without the conflict escalating to nuclear war.
CURRENT EVENTS. Both the US and North Korea’s administrations have issued serious threats against each other in the last week, and both appear prepared to engage in conflict. On September 23rd, Donald Trump tweeted that if North Korea followed their current course of action, they “wouldn’t be around much longer.” In response, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said Trump had “declared war on our country.” While White House spokespeople deny that the country has declared war, the verbal battle between the two leaders has escalated.
BACKGROUND. These current tensions are anchored in the recent sanctions the United Nations’ Security Council approved against North Korea. These new, tougher measures include a cap on oil imports to the country, a total ban on textile exports (the country’s second-largest export), and a mandate to inspect ships passing in and out of North Korea’s harbors. While the sanctions were leveled in response to North Korea’s most recent nuclear tests, it looks unlikely that they will curb further testing.