2017 was marked by a crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea hurled insults and threats at each other as the world braced itself for a potential war.
CGTN’s Jack Barton takes a look back at a year marked by escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
2017 witnessed an unprecedented number of DPRK missile tests, including at least one that could potentially strike the mainland United States. Multiple nuclear tests included what may have been a hydrogen bomb 16 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Round after round of United Nations sanctions drew an increasingly predictable response from Pyongyang.
On DPRK state television, a news reader punctuates the script.
“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves, by establishing the practical balance of force with the US.”
The Republic of Korea and the United States conducted massive war games while Washington warned of a pre-emptive war.
U.S. President Donald Trump proclaimed, “They will be met with fire and fury”.
Russia and China called for restraint and dialogue. Yet analysts say Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs continue with an end goal in sight.
“We are managing the situation, but not solving the situation,” offered Lee Byung-Tae, a professor at KAIST Business College.
South Korea and China also saw diplomatic relations cool over the deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system, though ties have again begun to improve. Seoul hopes the Winter Olympics in February could pave the way for talks on denuclearization, or at least a freeze, if the DPRK sends officials and athletes.
Seoul is also urging the White House to postpone the next round of large-scale war games. But there is still no response from Washington or from Pyongyang on whether they are even interested in sitting at the table.