The international community watched in disbelief last night as an earthquake caused by a nuclear test was measured in North Korea. The blast, according to The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, was twice as large as the blast in 2009. As most of the world, including China condemned the test, it’s difficult to say whether or not Kim Jong-un will listen to the criticism.
Undoubtedly, the UN Security Council will look to punish the DPRK, but the question remains: what policies will be effective at deterring North Korea’s nuclear ambitions? I agree with analysis given by CFR and Brookings that the US needs to drastically improve relations with China, as that may be the only means of stopping a catastrophic incident. Admittedly this is no easy task, as mistrust between the US and China about North Korea goes deep. But this latest test should be be a catalyst to a better working relationship. Collaborative intelligence, strategies and contingencies in case of an emergency will go a long way. If intransigence prevents a clear strategy and the world witnesses more advanced nuclear technology from North Korea, the results could be disastrous It is in everyone’s best interest to work together on this, but will best interests win out?