Consistent Strength is Key, Say Experts

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By Kim Yong Hun – 2010.06.02 3:01pm Analysis & Opinion Consistent Strength is Key, Say Experts Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? SHARE AvatarKim Yong Hun Analysis & Opinion center_img Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center Analysis & Opinion North Korea has suggested the possibility of military actions, like opening fire at loudspeakers broadcasting propaganda across the Military Demarcation Line, as countermeasures to the South Korean government’s response to the Cheonan incident.In political circles the notion of it being a choice between war and peace is being promoted by pro-North Korea and left-wing forces with the Democratic Party at their center, leading the office of the President to reiterate, “We do not want war,” and the ruling Grand National Party to add, “Even though tensions are rising, there is no possibility of a full frontal clash between North and South Korea.”Some domestic and foreign media are also publishing concerns about the possibility of war and hypothetical war scenarios.Indeed, the South Korean government has backtracked on one of its countermeasures already; to restart psychological warfare activities like loudspeaker broadcasts and the distribution of leaflets.North Korea strongly rejected this, stating a readiness to attack any such activities, and for this reason the Ministry of National Defense postponed the resumption of leafleting. They appear to be trying to avoid a worst case scenario.Yet, while the “Northerly Wind” and war crisis claims spread and spread, experts of all hues agree that war is highly unlikely.In order to back this assertion, experts mostly point to ▲ the nature of the Kim Jong Il dictatorial government ▲ the existing deterrent against North Korean attack, primarily delivered through the ROK-US military alliance ▲ North Korea’s relationship with China, which seeks stability in the region ▲ and the domestic condition of North Korea itself.Hwang Jang Yop, the president of Committee for Democratization of North Korea and a former secretary of the ruling Chosun Workers’ Party, has said on innumerable occasions things like, “Maintaining the system is the most important thing to Kim Jong Il. He would never do anything like start a war or reform the economy, things which could destroy the system.”Kim Hee Sang, chairman of the Korea Institute for National Security Affairs and a former Ministry of National Defense aide has said, “Kim Jong Il is a cowardly dictator who values his own life above everything else, so he will unite the country via building tensions instead of via a full-scale war which would destroy the system.”Kim Yeon Soo, a professor at Korea National Defense University, agrees with these sentiments. “Kim Jong Il’s strategy for South Korea does not include war,” Kim says. “Escalation, which will bring a deadly crisis, is wanted by neither North nor South Korea, and, especially to maintain Kim Jong Il’s system, a war cannot be risked. They are just threatening by pretending to be tough.”Professor Kim explained, “Currently, Kim Jong Il needs to build the tension on the Korean Peninsula to announce the establishment of the Military-first system and also to stabilize the succession. However, he will not take any measures which will make establishing the successor more difficult.” Lee Sang Hyun, director of the Security Studies Program at the Sejong Institute, concurs. “Judging by their internal situation,” he says, “the likelihood of this extending into war is low.”The view is unanimous; war is highly improbable. Regardless, experts also agree that it is South Korea’s duty to augment its deterrent and be ready for the worst case scenario. They all concur that the ROK-US military alliance is the most effective way to do this.During an interview with the BBC yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung Hwan stated, “Regarding North Korea’s provocative threats of war, the ROK-US Joint Defense capacity is there to suppress any North Korean provocation at an early stage.”Kim Tae Woo, director of the Arms Control Studies Division at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, agrees. “A deterrent to stop Kim Jong Il from expanding his provocations is important. Huge military aid from the United States through the ROK-US military alliance is the most effective method by which to prevent Kim Jong Il from initiating a war.”Experts also point out that North Korea is being deterred from all sides. Due to its relationships with China and Russia, Kim Jong Il cannot initiate a war. Especially, China is currently hosting the Shanghai Expo and has the Asian Games scheduled for November, so they will not allow war or an excess of tension on the Korean Peninsula.Therefore, the experts assert that the South Korean government needs to proceed with firm and consistent sanctions against North Korea. If the South Korean government’s punishments for the Cheonan incident stop or are rescinded, it will give the wrong signal to Kim Jong Il.Director Kim points out, “If we state that we cannot have a war, North Korea will provoke us more, but if we are willing to risk a war, North Korea will not able to provoke us anymore. Acting firmly but then making pacifying gestures could cause Kim Jong Il to make a misjudgment.”Therefore, he believes, “Taking firm, consistent measures is the fundamental way to prevent North Korea from threatening us, and will make Kim Jong Il think, ‘We should not provoke them again’.” Facebook Twitter Analysis & Opinion Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img read more