Though North Korea’s nuclearization efforts have faded from the headlines, the country has continued to improve its capabilities and can now plausibly reach any location in the continental United States with a nuclear weapon. In the absence of a deal to curb its nuclear and missile programs, North Korea’s arsenal will only grow more lethal.
In January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set their “Doomsday Clock” to 90 seconds before midnight, in an assessment of how close the world is to “global catastrophe”—the prospect of nuclear war. Three recent events over the past few weeks have reinforced the idea that the world is entering a dangerous era of nuclear risk.
The last year was one of near-constant North Korea missile testing. Dozens of launches have put the region on edge and are driving an increasingly militarized response from South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, China has done much to enable this state of affairs by its lackadaisical attitude toward North Korea.