With the number of ballistic missile tests North Korea has engaged in, the US and its allies are genuinely concerned about North Korea’s advancement regarding its nuclear capabilities. In an effort to deter North Korea from pursuing nuclear technology, the US and South Korea have been conducting joint military exercises to showcase their strength, in addition to implementing sanctions. North Korea viewed those exercises as an act of aggression and, in response, Kim Jong Un has vowed to escalate North Korea's ballistic missile testing. To understand the hostile environment today, the region’s history must be taken into consideration
Hostilities in the region date to 1945, when North Korea was formed after World War II following Japan’s surrender. Because of the surrender, Korea was divided into two zones, the North being administered by the Soviet Union, and the South by the US. During the 1950s, North Korea attempted to invade South Korea to unify the region, in what became known as the Korean War. The war came to a halt following the armistice agreement in 1953, indefinitely plunging the entire region into a cease-fire. Both countries are separated by a 150-mile-long demilitarized zone also known as the 38th parallel, where peace talks have been held between the conflicting countries ever since.
Tensions between North Korea and the international community, especially the United States and South Korea, have never been greater. Determined to perfect its nuclear technology, North Korea has been actively conducting ballistic missile tests to achieve nuclear capability over the past several years, increasing the number of tests during the past couple of months in response to the Trump Administration's rhetoric, a move which North Korea considers to be “defensive measures” to deter the US and its allies from threatening North Korean sovereignty. Despite international condemnation, North Korea has been persistent, refusing to cooperate and cease its nuclear activity. As of now, the future is uncertain, with direct military action looming on the horizon.