North and South Korea: Peaceful Relations and No More Nuclear Weapons
On Friday April 27th, North and South Korea agreed to not only remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, but also pledged for peace between the two nations that have been divided and militarized for over 50 years. North and South Korea have been divided since 1945, when the Second World War ended. The two countries then suffered a brutal 3 year war beginning in 1950, called the Korean War. Since then, they have remained divided, and technically "at war" with one and other. This pledge for peace at the demilitarized zone was something that was not thought to be possible 10 years ago.
However, this idea of peace and unity is not foreign to North Korea. North Korean children are taught from a young age that reunification is the ultimate goal, though the details of South Korea and their role in reunification may be misinformed. Furthermore, with tensions running high regarding North Korean nuclear threats in the past year, this step towards peace seems not only positive for the Korean peninsula, but also for the world at large.
What does this mean for sustainability and environmental concerns in North Korea? The isolated country suffers from extreme environmental issues, mainly due to recent nuclear testing. If this agreement between the North and South holds true, removal of these weapons will put an end to nuclear tests on Korean land. This is important in preserving the environment of North Korea, due to the fact that much of the landscape has already been negatively affected by famine and over farming the 15% of workable land for agricultural purposes.
Removing nuclear weapons would inherently reduce the possibility of a nuclear war, which would further damage North Korean land, as well as affect climate change more broadly. When nuclear acts are conducted, fires span for many miles from the blast site. These fires cause an extreme amount of dust and soot, which can get blow into the atmosphere and block out sunlight, causing a decrease in temperature and rainfall across the globe. This would in turn affect a vast majority of food production across the world.
While North and South Korea's promise for peace and removal of nuclear weapons does not guarantee the end of nuclear violence, it is promising from an environmentalist standpoint; the fewer of these weapons that are readily available, the fewer tests and attacks on the environment will occur.