North Korea's actions all aimed at self protection

I agree that the United States and its allies should not treat North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a freakish buffoon, and that more sanctions and threats will not influence his actions (Accepting N. Korean realities; Aug 31).

Korea was a sovereign country until Japan colonised it in 1910. It was divided after World War II.

The Korean War started in 1950 when North Korea attempted to unify the country. The war halted in 1953. After more than 60 years, most American people have forgotten about it.

But for three generations, the North suffered and rebuilt the country from the carnage and destruction unleashed by US forces.

Despite US sanctions and intimidations over the years, the North has never succumbed.

Its only choice was to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself in the event that the US tried to assert its dominance and launch another war.

The geopolitical situation of the 21st century offered North Korea some reprieve. Russia and China have become powerful nations, while South Korea and Japan have become vulnerable targets.

The US needs to re-assess the consequences if it intends to attack North Korea again. The situation on the Korean peninsula is different from that in the Middle East, where no powerful neighbour was around.

Despite US sanctions and intimidations over the years, the North has never succumbed. Its only choice was to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself in the event that the US tried to assert its dominance and launch another war.

The key to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula lies with the US.

It should accept that North Korea has acquired an arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range delivery vehicles for its own survival.

There is no guarantee that the US will win another Korean War. The destruction costs to South Korea and Japan would be incalculable. Who knows if US cities could be attacked and if a war would draw in China and Russia?

Let the two Koreas co-exist peacefully until future generations find the solution to unify, like in Germany or Vietnam.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'North Korea's actions all aimed at self protection'. Print Edition | Subscribe