Issue Brief on “North Korean Nuclear Programme and Increasing Tensions in the Region: A New Powder Keg?”

Tensions are simmering over North Korea’s nuclear programme and its ballistic missile tests which it has been conducting with increasing frequency in the last few months. In the month of March alone, North Korea has conducted 5 ballistic missiles tests. The tests followed the start of US-South Korea joint military exercises on March 1. North Korea claims that the joint exercises are a preparation for attack on the country.

Pyongyang periodically conducts missile tests when it feels threatened or wants to send a tough message to its opponents. This, in turn, heightens tensions further rendering neighbouring countries like South Korea and Japan insecure. North Korea’s nuclear programme is a source of concern not only in the region, but globally. The US has been toughening its stance against North Korea in the past few months. China, which is the only country that may hold influence over the reclusive country, has also been toughening its stance against North Korea.

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