North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, igniting the Korean War. The North aimed to conquer the South to unify Korea under the communist North Korean regime. Concerned that the Soviet Union and Communist China might have encouraged the invasion, President Harry S. Truman committed United States air, ground, and naval forces to the combined United Nations forces assisting the Republic of Korea in its defense.
In the Philippines, prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, President Elpidio Quirino, through the insistent suggestion of UN President Carlos Romulo, sought to form a Pacific Pact and planned to invite Taiwan and South Korea to join the proposed Asian Conference. Neutralist countries India and Indonesia, however, prevailed. And they were dropped from the final list of participating nations.
Four months before the Korean War erupted, Quirino expressed his neutralist attitude to the press: “Let China go communist. Let Japan go communist. We don’t care. We will respect whatever form of government any of our Far Eastern neighbors choose to have.”
North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, however, hardened the Philippine stand against communism. On September 7, 1950, Republic Act 573, or the Philippine Military Aid to the UN Act, was signed into law, making possible the sending of a Filipino expeditionary force to South Korea to help repel the communist aggression. The country sent 7,420 soldiers to South Korea over a five-year period, among them the late President Fidel Ramos and two former ambassadors to South Korea, the late Col. Nicanor Jimenez and Gen. Ernesto Gidaya.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and a vital foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. The accord seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.
Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On May 11, 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 191 countries signed the accord, including the five nuclear-weapon States—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China.
North Korea joined the NPT in 1985 as a non-nuclear-weapon state. But it withdrew from the Treaty in 2003 and began developing nuclear weapons.
Pundits said North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT and defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions inevitably weakened the global restraints on the spread of nuclear weapons, including ballistic missiles. Today, North Korea’s long-range missiles and nuclear program represent the region’s most immediate security challenge.
From Bloomberg: “Leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea is ready to use nuclear weapons “anytime and anywhere,” delivering a new threat as a US aircraft carrier group arrives in South Korea. Kim made the comments while visiting a facility producing nuclear bombs, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Tuesday. State media released images of Kim standing with military officials among his arsenal of warheads.”
“This is a significant size improvement over prior North Korean nuclear weapons, and possibly design advance,” George William Herbert, an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said on Twitter about the warheads shown in the photos released by the Kim government.
North Korea is estimated to have about 80 to 90 warheads, the Seoul-based Korea Institute for Defense Analyses said in a paper released in January, adding Kim was looking to have 100 to 300 over the long term. Among the new weapons that Kim recently rolled out include an underwater drone that reportedly can deliver a nuclear strike capable of causing a “radioactive tsunami.”
The Philippines, as an ally of South Korea and the United States, remains concerned and continues to condemn North Korea’s nuclear missile tests. Since 2006, the UN Security Council has passed nearly a dozen resolutions sanctioning North Korea for developing nuclear weapons.
Kim said he is ready to use nuclear weapons “anytime and anywhere”. If he starts an all-out war, the Philippines could be involved because of its close ties with the US and its obligations under two bilateral treaties. This 21st century war involving nuclear capable states would not be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse than your worst nightmare.