Tug of War: The US, North Korea and their Interests in Africa

Some of the most powerful nations on earth are establishing and re-establishing their relationship with Africa because they see the potential that lies within it. From Donald Trump’s recent praise of Africa at the UN general assembly a month ago about Africa’s budding business potential where he stated that many of his friends are going there to become wealthy to North Korea’s involvement in military operations in some North, South, and Central African nations. It seems as if there is competition going between these two nations and Africa is in the middle of it.

North Korea is viewed as an enemy to many Western leaders as its leader Kim Jong-un often provokes them with threats of war through a nuclear arms race. It is a possibility that North Korea is trying to gain more allies around the world, and by operating in Africa they will find favour in the eyes of the African governments who will support their nuclear operations.

North Korea has been engaging with Africa over the past few years through the importation and exportation of goods with countries such as Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Zambia, Benin and Senegal. The U.N is mainly concerned with the fact that African countries are receiving military assistance from North Korea which has conducted military training in several countries across the continent. The international probes carried out on these African countries by the UN could possibly damage relations with western states especially the United States. These probes have caused some of the above mentioned countries to deny or downplay their relations with North Korea in order to appear in line with UN regulations and also to retain their relationship with the United States. In the case of Burkina Faso the government urged all businesses to terminate any transactions with North Korea in order to protect their relationship with the U.S. Donald trump expressed the same Sentiment when he addressed African leaders during the UN general assembly last month urging them to invest in US companies and to aid in the fight again Islamic terrorists and the threat from North Korea.

It seems as if Africa must pick sides and depending on who they pick it could be of great benefit or great harm. Africa’s choice to allow Korea to continue to run military operations in the continent could lead to sanctions that will harm the growth of the nations economies. On the other hand if Africa chooses to side with America to maintain a positive relationship, that could harm their relationship with North Korea which would cause Africa to be viewed as a foe rather than an ally.

The world can watch and wait to see how things will unfold between the United States and North Korea. With both countries having interests in Africa, only time will tell how Africa will be affected. One can only hope that when the dust has settled that Africa is not a causality of the bravado being acted out by North Korea and the U.S.

Featured image | Kim Jong-un visiting Berlin : driver photographer | flickr

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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