It has been nearly 73 years since the Korean War, when North Korea’s Army invaded South Korea to bring the Korean peninsula under the control of the communist North Korean regime. The United States got involved in the conflict out of concern that the Soviet Union and Communist China encouraged the invasion.
The U.S. sent American air, ground and naval forces in conjunction with United Nations forces to successfully defend South Korea, according to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library. But in 2023, it appears that North Korea will be continuing its aggression.
North Korean Missiles Carrying Nuclear Weapons
North and South Korea are still divided today, and the United States continues to be an ally with South Korea. Today, there are 28,500 American troops in South Korea and recently a U.S. Space Force unit was established in South Korea, according to Military.com. This unit likely enables the U.S. military to closely monitor threats from North Korea, China and Russia.
In particular, North Korea continues to provoke and threaten the United States and its interests. Military.com notes that North Korean missiles – capable of carrying nuclear weapons and of striking the U.S. mainland – were recently test-fired. In the past, North Korea has threatened to use nuclear weapons against the United States and South Korea.
[Related article: North Korea calls UN nuclear watchdog ‘a marionette’ of West]
Tensions between North Korea and US Allies Continue
Tensions have been high between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the United States for some time. Recently, Kim Jong-un revealed North Korea’s military goals for 2023, which occurred amidst high tensions with the United States.
According to Fox News, Kim Jong-un recently told his party leaders that North Korea is experiencing a “newly created challenging situation.” He called for a “strengthening self-defensive capabilities to be strongly pursued in 2023” and set the direction for an “anti-enemy struggle.”
Hypersonic Weapons and a Reconnaissance Satellite System
Leading into 2023, North Korean missile testing was elevated. According to U.S. News and World Report, North Korea plans to speed up its military buildup and to make developing new strategic weaponry a top priority. This weaponry includes nuclear missiles, hypersonic weapons, at least one reconnaissance satellite system, and other advanced weaponry.
In addition to South Korea, North Korea has also focused its aggression on Japan, another United States ally. Fox News reported that North Korea threatens to take “bold military steps” against Japan and put out a statement that said, “Japan’s foolish attempt to satiate its black-hearted greed – the building up of its military invasion capability with the pretext of a legitimate exercise of self-defense rights – cannot be justified and tolerated.”
North Korea has a history of making veiled threats toward the United States. On November 1, 2022, the Associated Press said that in response to U.S.-South Korean large-scale joint military drills, North Korea threatened the use of nuclear weapons and said that the U.S. and South Korea would “pay the most horrible price in history.”
In any case, the United States must closely monitor the capabilities of the totalitarian state – particularly North Korean missile advancements – and work with allies to deter North Korea from acting on any of its threats. If you are interested in learning more about North Korea and other military conflicts, military history and military theory, consider exploring the University’s online master’s in military studies degree.