Shifting Alliances

Over the course of the past month, North Korea has shown signs of increasing volatility. The anti-United States war demonstrations, nuclear tests and military threats targeting both South Korea and America are troubling. It is clear that action must be taken to ensure stability in this turbulent region. However, instead of rashly launching a military intervention (which has been a common United States foreign policy), it is imperative for the nation to respond to North Korean endeavors with diplomacy and economic sanctions.

First, increased diplomatic negotiations with China could offer a viable, non-violent solution to the missile crisis. Historically, China has served as a crucial ally to North Korea. According to the “Associated Press,” “the Chinese dramatically have boosted trade ties with their neighbors and maintain close military relations some six decades after they fought side by side in the Korean War. They provide North Korea with most of its fuel and much of its food aid.” According to an article entitled “China breaking UN sanctions to support North Korea” published in “The Telegraph,” approximately 10.5 billion British pounds of trade, and an estimated 80 percent of North Korea’s oil and gasoline needs, come from China.

However, on account of the recent North Korean nuclear tests, China seems to be slightly wavering in its support. Chinese officials have shut down Kwangson Bank, which has sent money over to finance the North Korean military, according to the same article in “The Telegraph.” Chinese President Xi Jinping attacked North Korea, stating that, “No one should be allowed to throw a region, and even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains.” Quite clearly, there is a rift forming between North Korea and its ally. The United States needs to capitalize on this newfound tension in order to prompt China to cut back its ties to the radical North Korean regime.

If America wants to see any progress in this region, it cannot afford to lose China as an ally. China holds too much economic influence, especially over North Korea, to be thought of as a non-factor. The way to fortify our promising diplomatic relationship with the Chinese, however, is not through military intervention.

This past Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Xi and several other Chinese officials. Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized that North Korea’s actions “should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation.” As mentioned by Jane Perlez in her “New York Times” article, “Kerry in China to Seek Help in Korea Crisis,” this comment reflects the Chinese concern that the United States is trying to gain a military footing in Asia.

Furthermore, instigating war could cause North Korea to become even more radical and unstable. In both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the United States bypassed peaceful solutions and instead chose ill-advised military operations. Both of those endeavors ended up as failures: the Korean War caused the isolation and radicalization of North Korea in the first place. Time and time again, this history of failed United States military intervention has repeated itself. Look no further than the Iraq War. Even following the United States withdrawal of troops, Iraq still seems to be unstable.

Overall, it is clear that peaceful methods should be taken in order to solve the North Korean missile crisis. Instead of mobilizing troops and weapons and affronting the Chinese negotiators, it is crucial that the U.S. works together with China in order to solidify the relationship and bring about a time of stability in this region. Instigating war would throw an already unstable region into turmoil, and don’t think that this issue does not pertain to the Andover community. The consequences of the U.S. actions today will deeply impact our future relationship with this region of the world. This conflict applies to each and every member of the future generation.

Justin Curtis is a two-year Lower from Boxford, Mass.