HILLSBOROUGH: More diplomacy needed in North Korea standoff

To the editor:
   In late 2011, Kim Jong-un became the head of state of North Korea following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.
   A poor economy, terrible foreign relations, nuclear exploration, militarization, human right’s controversies, and a cult of personality in his homeland characterized Kim Jong-il’s rule and his oppressive dictating style. He is remembered in America for his eccentric and unpredictable actions, and many had hoped that the new leader of North Korea would be open to social and military reform within the country.
   This high hope seems to have been dashed during the last few months of Kim Jong-un’s rule. Amid recent and constant threats of nuclear attacks, how concerned should we, as U.S. citizens, be about our safety?
   While it is clear that North Korea can manufacture and test nuclear equipment and weapons, there is little indication whether they have the technology to accurately fire these warheads a substantial distance. In other words, we have no idea how far the North Korean weapons can reach.
   Conflicting reports have littered the airways, leaving most Americans very confused and quite concerned. The Defense Intelligent Agency has recently reported that they believe that North Korea can manufacture nuclear weapons that are small enough to be delivered over large distances.
   Secretary of State John Kerry has recently stated that to assume that North Korea could transport such devices would be “inaccurate.”
   It is difficult to say whether the U.S. or its allies face any real threat. North Korea, however, continues to threaten America (and, even more specifically, Tokyo) with nuclear attacks, if necessary. Most officials agree that a nuclear strike is unlikely and even impossible at this point, yet this information comforts very few.
   An unstable and inexperienced leader of an oppressive dictatorship, with nuclear expectations, should not be taken lightly. The United States and other influential and affected allied powers should do much more to open communication with North Korea and settle international and North/South Korea relations.
James Boland