US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel gave a statement on the rising tensions between United States and North Korea in which he clearly and vividly ‘acknowledged ‘ the threat that North Korea posed to US. In a brief and direct statement to a Pentagon News Conference in Washington, Hagel accepted that the North Korea’s provocative and belligerent tone had ratcheted up the tensions in Korean Peninsula, referring to the standoff between the two Korean countries i.e. North Korea and South Korea. He denied US’s role in aggravating the tensions and contributing to the standoff and that flying stealth bombers to the region was part of joint drills between US and South Korea. In a strong worded reference to the new leader of North Korea Hagel said that each and every provocation, bellicose word and action that this ‘young’ leader had taken so far since assuming the power had to be taken up rather seriously. The ‘young’ word made intentionally to signify the lack of experience that the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un has. The statement made in the backdrop of escalating tensions between North Korea and duo of US and South Korea holds special significance since this is for the first time that any US official and that too the defense secretary publicly gave weightage to the threat posed by North Korea.
The statement by the defense secretary definitely lacks substance and shows his inexperience in handling the matters of grave importance. The statement was clearly aimed at creating panic and not to mollify and pacify the things. The move by US to fly its B-2 stealth bombers over the Korean Peninsula has been widely criticized by experts around the world as some argued that it aimed to show North Korea the military might of US and hence a direct augmentation to the tensions which have made the world to look up and take notice. The move lead to war of words between the two North Korean nations and hardly helped the situation.
Moreover there was no need to express this level of seriousness at the statements made by North Korea since this has rather been a regular activity over the years. North Korea has indulged in this kind of ‘war of words’ each time US and South Korea indulged in joint defense exercises in the past also. Though the statements made this year were more intense, that could possibly be due to the recent change in leadership. Thus it is indeed safe to say that the statements made by North Korea lack in substance as they have often done in the past and US should stay safe from making any unwarranted and unneeded statement, which could contribute to the tensions in any manner whatsoever. US should mediate the situation well and cool off things to ensure peace and prosperity for all, an idea that forms the basis of its foreign policy. Though US should be vigilant enough against outside threats, it should definitely refrain from making statements which could cause wide unrest since when US speaks, the world listens.