Putting the Cuban Missile Crisis into perspective

The North Korean crisis

Today, specialists consider the nuclear threat less severe than it was during the Cold War. Since that era, several international treaties have been created to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and the development of new technology in this field.

However, not all countries are on board with this goal. In 2003, North Korea, for example, announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks the peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear disarmament, and a limit on the spread of nuclear weapons. Since then, North Korea has conducted underground nuclear explosions (in 2006 and 2009) and threatened to use its weapons against the US.

The most recent rise in tensions over North Korea’s nuclear plans was the 2017-2018 North Korean crisis. The crisis began when North Korea conducted missile and nuclear tests that signalled both unexpected speed in building its nuclear arsenal and its ability to launch long-range ballistic missiles. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un subsequently sent an open letter to several nations, boasting about North Korea’s nuclear power and threatening a nuclear retaliation if the US tried to attack.

The crisis was resolved when North Korea signed a declaration for peace with South Korea, promising to work for nuclear disarmament in the Korean peninsula. The agreement was strengthened through an unprecedented meeting between Kim Jong-un and American President Donald Trump in June 2018, where both leaders committed to peaceful relations.

However, a follow-up meeting between the two leaders in 2019 ended without a clear agreement about disarmament, which once again led to international fear in relation to North Korea's nuclear efforts. 

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