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The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

Korea Coalesces


Tensions between North Korea and the United States of America have been rising since Donald Trump started up contests of ego with Kim Jong-un, who Trump called “little rocket man”. On the other hand, South Korea and the United States of America have a great relationship, even though North Korea and South Korea have been at odds ever since the Korean Peninsula was separated. Now, though, at the recent Winter Olympics, North Korean athletes and South Korean athletes marched under the same flag. This flag, the Korean Unification Flag, symbolizes the hope to reunite the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean Peninsula has been separated by a DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, ever since a ceasefire was called on July 27, 1953. This DMZ, which stretches 150 miles long and two and a half miles wide, is very contradictory of its name. It is littered with mines and grand swaths of barbed wire with one place directly divided by the border where ambassadors or leaders of North and South Korea or allies of one can meet and talk. This zone, known as the Joint Security Area, has also been called a “truce village”.

Moon Jae-in, the current political leader of South Korea, and Kim Jong-un, the current political leader of North Korea, agreed to meet in the Joint Security Area on April 27, 2018. This was the first time a summit like this has happened since 2007. Moon Jae-in was invited to this summit by Kim Jong-un in a hope to prolong the feeling of unity the Olympics sparked. Hot topics of this meeting were surely to be the denuclearization of North Korea and a possible unity of the Korean Peninsula. Not much is known about what was said, but Kim Jong-un invited Moon Jae-in to step into North Korea while Moon Jae-in invited Kim Jong-un to step into South Korea. Both leaders accepted, and they crossed borders, accompanied by each other and exchanging pleasantries.

Trump was also invited to meet with Kim Jong-un in May, and as of March 8th, Trump has agreed to embark on a journey to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time,” tweeted Trump. Obviously, the talks of denuclearization have intrigued many American citizens, including President Trump. Since Trump has been in office, one of the biggest topics of discussion has been North Korea’s nuclear weapons and their capability to hit the United States of America. A student that wishes to remain anonymous asserts that “the arsenal of North Korea is probably one of the scariest things that I have ever known about.” These scheduled meetings bring a new light to this topic, as most people are conscious of the fact they could be vaporized or poisoned by nuclear weapons.

The North showed a simulated video of a tactical nuclear missile strike on San Francisco to commemorate Kim Il Sung, their founding father. If a 140 kiloton nuclear missile, the largest in the North’s arsenal as of September 2017 according to the U.S.A., hit San Francisco, the radiation radius would be approximately 7.2 square miles. The aftereffects of the radiation would be a 50-90% rate of mortality without medical treatment. This supposedly would not hit Marin, but the effects would. With a high probability of knocking out hospitals and power grids, as well as contaminating water sources, the Bay Area would be flooded with the injured and possibly in a blackout.

At TL, there is not a procedure listed for a missile threat. Missile threats are mainly under the jurisdiction of the state and the country, which explains why TL wouldn’t have a procedure. The explosion procedure, on the other hand, doesn’t show what to do about radiation aside from a mention about toxicity. The italicized print states, “Until you know the cause of the explosion and can determine the safest procedure to follow, it is best to remain inside and wait further instructions from the main office or first responders unless there is an immediate danger of fire or collapse.” So, despite the fact there could be a toxic substance in the air, if there is no fire and the building is sturdy, we are to remain inside the school. With recent threats of attack, why haven’t local high schools implemented plans?

Knowing the school procedure, the denuclearization of North Korea is a big step to keeping peace between the U.S.A. and North Korea. Moon Jae-in claims that war between the North and the U.S.A. cannot happen. Stephan Haggard, professor of Korea-Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, responds to that claim by stating that “Unwillingness to act in the face of provocations is not stabilizing; it is destabilizing.” Haggard may be correct in a sense that an inability to resolve conflict could lead to a collapse. However, Moon Jae-in provides a solution to this problem of nuclear war. It should not happen. If nuclear war is inevitable, however, then action will be taken by the North and the Trump Administration.

Provocation will not be tolerated by the Trump Administration. Trump tweeted on January 2, 2018, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump alludes to the fact that he can send nuclear missiles to North Korea with more force in response to any hostility. Trump should take advice from Moon Jae-in and not provoke war.

These summits will hopefully bring peace, unity, and partnership between the Korean Peninsula and the United States of America. Denuclearization and unity could bring the world away from the brink of war and closer to peace for every nation.

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    tleonhart@srcs.orgJun 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Awesome reporting on a completely terrifying topic, Chase.

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Korea Coalesces