North Korea: Improving the Quality of Defense Through Nuclear Development


North Korea is an East Asian country located on the Korean Peninsula, directly adjacent to South Korea.The country of Korea connects Northeast Asia with the outside world, especially the Japanese archipelago, which is located close to the Korean Peninsula. The strategic geographic position of the Korean Peninsula makes it important as a link between countries in the Middle East and Asia. North Korea is a country that adheres to communism, which has been passed down from generation to generation until now.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) and his daughter pose with soldiers for a photo in front of the Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile, at an unidentified location in North Korea.

This is the only country that is considered to have no principles regarding the policy of possessing nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have basically caused many global problems in the military field, which eventually developed into political and economic problems. A nuclear weapon can be shaped like a missile that has the ability to fly thousands of kilometers, which is more familiarly known as an intercontinental missile. This demonstrates that the nuclear weapon has a sufficiently long range capability, in addition to its massive destructive capability. 

During Kim Jong Il's reign, North Korea succeeded in making various kinds of nuclear weapons with a plutonium base in order to carry out the development of nuclear technology. Kim Jong Il made a statement saying that North Korea has had nuclear weapons since 1994. Kim Jong Il thinks that the development of nuclear technology is necessary to improve the quality of his country's defense because he knows that the United States itself also has nuclear weapons in South Korea.

North Korea has also conducted several tests of its nuclear weapons through missiles, which until now have been considered a serious threat to the United States and its allies. North Korea has always thought that with nuclear weapons, it would become a stronger country than South Korea and could have an impact on the United States. In addition, by having nuclear weapons, North Korea's dependence on the Soviet Union and China can be reduced. Nuclear weapons also indirectly provide security for North Korea, given that the country does not join any international community.

The National Defense Commission is the de facto highest political and administrative body in North Korea. The law, which was revised in 1998, makes it clear that this agency is not only the body in charge of all military forces but also the body in charge of all national security. Therefore, the National Defense Committee exercises both administrative and national defense authority. The unchallenged supreme official, chairman of the national defense committee, controls all political, legislative, judicial, and economic affairs.

North Korea, as one of the actors in international relations, adheres to the Juche ideology, which is interpreted as the essence of self-determination. Departing from this ideology, North Korea wants to build a nation that is strong, independent, and not dependent on other countries. To create a sense of security, it is necessary to increase power. North Korea focuses on increasing its power through military capability through the "Son Gun Chongji" policy. North Korea has consistently and rapidly developed its defense technology. These developments focus on WMD, SOF, ballistic missiles, and electronic information warfare.


The internal and external threats faced by North Korea as an actor in international relations adhere to the Juche ideology, which is interpreted as the essence of self-determination. From this ideology, North Korea wants to build a nation that is strong, independent, and not dependent on other countries. To create a sense of security, it is necessary to increase power.

North Korea focuses on increasing its power through military capability through the "Son' gun Chongji" policy. In order to deal with threats that could hamper the country's development, North Korea has become more focused and consistent in the field of defense. North Korea has consistently and rapidly developed its defense technology. These developments focus on WMD, SOF, ballistic missiles, and electronic information warfare. Seeing the development of defense technology carried out by North Korea through the development of nuclear technology can prevent threats from the outside and provide strict rules for citizens, which can help the government against internal threats.

North Korea's nuclear weapons technology development program began in 1956, when North Korea signed an agreement with the Soviet Union in a cooperative effort for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In this program, North Korea began to send several of its delegates to study in Moscow regarding nuclear science with the aim of training scientists from countries that share the same ideology, namely communism. North Korea could produce Plutonium and gradually became an expert in the field of nuclear development by having facilities to develop nuclear technology, so that the North Korean president at the time, Kim Il Sung, made a policy to develop nuclear weapons. 

The national resource management system for the interests of defense in North Korea, namely the dynamics of military development, occurs based on differences in the nature and needs of fulfilling the national interests of each country. The international community still views military power as an important component of ensuring domestic and global security and stability.Military developments have been characterized by an increase in military spending for weaponry. This was done to become the strongest country and as an effort to pressure other countries not to attack.

North Korea is also a state in the East Asian region that continues to develop its defense and security capabilities. North Korea adheres to a communist ideology and is a country that is very closed to the international community, especially in the field of defense and security budgets. North Korea continues to develop and conduct nuclear tests. North Korea's military development through the development of nuclear weapons is used as a deterrence tool in an effort to deter the dominating power of a large country as a response to fears that a national interest in the country will be threatened. National resources are human resources, natural resources, and artificial resources. In terms of human resources, natural and man-made resources are used for military purposes, namely the development of nuclear weapons.

The condition of security development and the increase in military budget that occurred in the East Asia region created tension between countries in the region, especially in 2018. As a result, North Korea increased its use of strategies to protect and maintain national security. In this case, North Korea uses a deterrence strategy by demonstrating its nuclear capabilities.

The pattern of maintaining North Korea's national resources is to fulfill the interests of its country's defense, and North Korea has its own motivation in its nuclear weapons test program. reach the United States and fulfill their country's constitution.

The second motivation is North Korea's negative response to the United States' actions to include North Korea on the terrorism list. The third motivation is as leverage or a diplomatic tool in various negotiations. North Korea's nuclear program is viewed as a strength that can be used to strengthen its position in the international community.

Through these motivations, it can be concluded that North Korea really has plans and intentions to increase its nuclear weapons capabilities to a higher level. Not only that, North Korea's aggressive actions also invite threats that it will wage war with the United States, and if that happens, there will be instability in the countries that have relations with the two sides.

Whereas in 2014–2015, the North Korean media reported that the country had been able to create a hydrogen bomb. But the United States doubted the veracity of the news. In its nuclear development program, North Korea has become the focus of international attention again. North Korea's nuclear program is thought to be capable of causing economic losses and decline in several countries, including the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, and others. In this nuclear program, concerns have also been raised by North Korea with the international community regarding the danger of nuclear arms competition.

For North Korea, this nuclear weapons test program is an instrument of international diplomacy to achieve the country's own national interests. North Korea's main reason for maintaining its nuclear weapons program is because it wants to protect its country's security from the United States, which, according to North Korea, is a threat to North Korea itself. North Korea employs coercive diplomacy to threaten the United States and its allies. According to North Korea, this nuclear program is an effective diplomatic instrument to bring the United States to the negotiating table as well as a means of guaranteeing the security of the North Korean regime itself.

North Korea believes that apart from maintaining the security of its regime, in the negotiation process North Korea's nuclear program can also benefit in the economic field in terms of food aid, funding, and so on. Therefore, with this nuclear test, North Korea makes this program a core strategy on the national agenda. North Korea is developing nuclear weapons due to a weak conventional military, so the goals of the nuclear program carried out by North Korea at this time are:

1. Increasing strength to achieve an equal position with South Korea
2. Strengthening North Korea's authority and influence in international relations.
3. Extortion used to gain an advantage over South Korea
4. As a balancing strategy against South Korean weapons

Several factors have contributed to North Korea's continued development of nuclear weapons tests.The communist bloc ended its aid to North Korea at the end of the Cold War. Even though North Korea's focus on testing nuclear weapons is very high, military leaders realize that North Korea's conventional military forces are still very far from their potential, such as those of Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Thus, the nuclear weapons test development program was chosen by North Korea as a credible long-term deterrence step.

There are several possible scenarios for North Korea's first nuclear development, including Pyongyang trying to communicate with South Korea, which so far has felt hostility from North Korea. Second, North Korea wants Washington's attention. Third, the North Korean government intends to strengthen the political legitimacy of Kim Jong Il's successor, Kim Jong Un. Fourth, Pyongyang intends to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons for use against South Korea, Japan, and/or the United States.

During Kim Jong-Il's leadership, North Korea became a country that tried to live without the help of other countries. In other words, Kim Jong-Il emphasized that North Korea must move independently in accordance with North Korea's Juche ideology. The politics that have been established have forced the North Korean people to accept the reality of life with the country's low economic growth. The country's economic situation makes the North Korean people live in poverty and suffer; this condition is further exacerbated by the limited agricultural land and limited employment opportunities. However, under these conditions, the North Korean people remain convinced that their leader is the best leader who can unite North Korea and make North Korean people respect and worship their country's leader.

The policies of the North Korean government must be paid dearly by the welfare conditions of its people, who must live below the poverty line due to an international embargo as a consequence of the nuclear program developed by North Korea. Kim Jong-il implemented economic and military policies to address this issue.Kim Jong-Il is trying hard to prove his ability to become a strong leader and systematically shape the economy, or build an economy that then tries to progress independently.

There were bad economic problems everywhere, causing hunger everywhere, so Kim Jong-Il tried to procure his needs independently. Kim Jong-Il created a new constitutional structure, providing armed forces to protect himself and convening a meeting of businessmen for political purposes. It can be said that North Korea already has sufficient military power ready to fight.

As a tool of diplomacy, for North Korea the development of a nuclear weapons test program is the right thing to do considering the growing dynamics of international politics, which is a form of coercive diplomacy in order to achieve North Korea's goals or national interests:

1. Keeping the North Korean regime safe

2. With the possession of a nuclear weapons program, North Korea will have the most superior position in the form of negotiations in the international arena

3. Fulfilling the resource needs of the North Korean state itself, with the nuclear that it has, if it is asked to stop and approve it, North Korea will be rewarded in the form of a lot of diesel fuel and even the lifting of economic sanctions that have been given to North Korea.

North Korea is very unique in its combination of military, economic, and political factors. Normally, countries developing nuclear weapons programs keep their programs very secret in order to avoid outside intervention, but the North Korean regime does the exact opposite, namely, they want to become a nuclear state. 


Based on the preceding discussion, the authors conclude that North Korea, which follows the Juche ideology, is intent on developing its nuclear resources. They did not even hesitate to carry out the nuclear test, which was considered to be able to provide a deterrence effect for the surrounding countries so that they could prevent threats from arising.

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