North Korea Showdown

May 19, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 19
Can a military confrontation be averted?
By David Hosansky


Ballistic missiles dominate a military parade in Pyongyang (AFP/Getty Images/KCNA)
Ballistic missiles dominate a military parade in Pyongyang on April 16. As North Korea seeks to develop ever-more-powerful nuclear bombs and missiles capable of reaching the United States, President Trump has warned of a possible “major, major conflict” with the secretive “Hermit Kingdom.” (AFP/Getty Images/KCNA)

Tension is running high between the United States and North Korea, a family-run communist dictatorship with a record of horrific human rights abuses. One of the world's most militaristic nations, the “Hermit Kingdom” is testing increasingly powerful nuclear bombs, seeking to develop ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States and threatening U.S. ally South Korea with a massive arsenal of artillery and other weapons. After years of attempts by U.S. presidents to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions through negotiations and ever-more-stringent economic sanctions, the Trump administration is vowing to eliminate the North Korean military threat. President Trump warns of the possibility of a “major, major conflict” with North Korea, and administration officials say they are considering all options. Neighboring China and Japan fear a full-scale regional war, and South Korea's new government — fearing that tens of thousands of its citizens could die in a war with the North — wants a more conciliatory approach in dealing with Pyongyang.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 19, 2017  North Korea Showdown
Jul. 05, 2011  North Korean Menace
Apr. 11, 2003  North Korean Crisis
May 19, 2000  Future of Korea
Aug. 12, 1977  Relations with South Korea
Apr. 24, 1968  Divided Korea
Jan. 27, 1960  Korea: Problem Protectorate
Aug. 24, 1951  Rehabilitation of Korea
Nov. 01, 1945  Freedom for Korea
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
Conflicts in Asia
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Party Politics
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: Korea
War and Conflict