The United States (US) Defence Secretary James Mattis has said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an "effective and overwhelming" response, as reported on the BBC. But despite this, there are certain questions to ask. First of all, why is there such hostility between N. Korea and the US? Secondly, is it not hypercritical that some nations are allowed to possess nuclear weapons whilst others are not? And thirdly, will North Korea actually use its nuclear arsenal against others?

Why the hostility?

Before we proceed, let us examine the situation that we face.

The comments made by Mattis have come whilst he has been visiting South Korea. He expressed his concern at the "repeated" missile and nuclear tests carried out by N. Korea. It is a concern that may the region may be destabilised. So, in answering the first question, why is there such hostility between North Korea and the US? The real concern of the West dates back to last century after the United Nations (UN) split the Korean peninsula into two countries at the end of the World War II. At the time trusteeship was given to both the US and the USSR, according to the Foreign Policy Journal website. However, after the breakdown of relations between the two countries, it led to the emergence of the Cold War, with the USSR establishing a "permanent communist government" as a result in North Korea.

However, after Kim II-sung declared the north part of the country the 'Democratic People's Republic of Korea' (which the USSR and China supported), with a fear of a "domino-effect of communism, war broke out between the two Koreas in 1950. Despite agreements in 1994 between the US and North Korea, over the years relations have remained strained.

It is as a result of such concern over the years that the US has sought good relations with South Korea and, as reported on the Huffington Post, they have become "true partners".

Is there not an element of hypocricy?

Let us now focus on the second question. Whilst is it alright for nations in Europe and the West to possess a nuclear arsenal and not countries such as Iran and N.

Korea? The problem it seems in countries such as the United States and Britain is what their nuclear weapons are used for. For the nations in the West, their nuclear capabilities are to ensure stability, peace and security in the region. They do not see that as being the case, for Iran or North Korea for example. The concern for an Iranian nuclear arsenal is the rhetoric that they have used. They have claimed on numerous occasions, as the Daily Mail stated, that they want to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth". Similarly on countless occasions North Korea has made threats against others. In June 2012, as reported on the BBC, the North Korean army warned that artillery was aimed at South Korea and threatened a "merciless sacred war".

Even before that, a decade earlier, after US President George W Bush named North Korea as part of the 'axis of evil', Pyongyang said that it would "mercilessly wipe out the aggressors". It is as a result of these comments that there is so much concern at North Korea possessing or testing nuclear weapon.

Will North Korea actually use what they possess?

To be honest I do not think that they will. Nobody wants World War III; it benefits nobody and will just cause carnage. But I suppose they enjoy being seen as a threat; it shows their power in the region.