North Korea has a long history of desiring to run its own affairs, without interference. It also has a long history of wanting to protect itself with WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). This North Korean propaganda piece demonstrates the significant faith the country places in its military might. Image online, via Wired.UK.
Today, North Korea possesses nuclear weapons. That fact alone has heightened tensions between the DPRK and the United Nations.
Experts believe that North Korea has uranium-enrichment capability to complement the country's already existing mining and milling facilities plus its missile production sites. Laboratories developing, and plants producing, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction are also known to exist.
Ongoing tensions today are rooted in the unresolved issues and events of the Korean War:
The inability of the two sides to resolve their differences has meant that the two Koreas and their allies have had to remain on a war footing along the inter-Korean border ever since. Fifty years after the North Korean invasion, Communist and United Nations soldiers still glare at each other across the demilitarized zone established in July 1953.
Together with the South Koreans, U.S. Army troops continue to make up the bulk of the UN contingent in Korea. The burdens of protecting South Korea from the threat of renewed Communist aggression over the past half-century have been great for the United States. Billions of dollars have been spent and some additional lives have been lost, the latter as a result of sporadic Communist violations of the cease-fire.
But North Korea's reliance on itself to produce weapons of mass destruction are rooted in the political philosophy of Kim Il Sung, the now-deceased ruler whom the people still call their "Great Leader."