- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Jong-Il is unpredictable, I'm more of the mindset that he really believes he can blackmail the sanctions away:
October 07, 2006
DMZ Tensions Escalate
With Kim Jong-Il threatening a nuclear test and his neighbors demanding that he stop the preparations for it, tensions have mounted at the DMZ separating North and South Korea. This morning, an incursion by a handful of DPRK soldiers resulted in warning shots by South Korean troops:
On the frontier between North and South Korea, South Korean soldiers fired warning shots after five North Korean soldiers crossed a boundary in the Demilitarized Zone separating the countries' forces, South Korean military officials said.Things fall apart, the center does not hold, as Yeats wrote, and the world has no more visible center than the Korean DMZ. It has remained in force for a surprising amount of time, given the fundamental differences between North and South Korea. Fifty-three years have passed since the end of formal warfare on the Korean Peninsula, but the Korean War has never ended. It seems as though Kim Jong-Il wants to either restart it or end it completely on his own terms, and that time may be running out for any rational conclusion to the conflict.
It was unclear whether the North Korean advance, which happened shortly before noon local time, was intended as a provocation, an official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on condition of anonymity, citing official policy. No one was hurt, and the North Koreans retreated.
"It's not clear whether it was intentional or whether it was to catch fish," he said, adding four North Koreans were unarmed and the fifth carried a rifle.
They advanced about 30 yards past the Military Demarcation Line separating the two armies before retreating after South Korean forces fired about 40 warning shots, the official said.
His neighbors apparently have the same analysis. Almost all of them warned Pyongyang that a nuclear test would fundamentally alter their approach to security in the Pacific Rim. Japan announced that it would seek immediate and significant sanctions against North Korea if Kim carries out his nuclear test, and given the direction of the new government, they may start remilitarizing to meet the threat. Japan's UN ambassador even hinted at military action. Philippines President Gloria Arroyo warned Kim about Asian security. Even South Korea fired off a rare diplomatic warning shot, announcing that North Korea would bear responsibility for the consequences of a nuclear test.
China remained officially mum about such consequences, but told the press that only the removal of recent American sanctions would convince Kim to skip the test. These sanctions, CQ readers will recall, got imposed because of Kim's massive counterfeiting operation that targets the US. We cut out Kim's banking front from the international financial community, making it difficult for him to flood the market with the phony currency. The Chinese and the DPRK can forget about us making Pyongyang an unofficial new mint for the US, so the Chinese had better come up with Plan B.
Just like with Iran, the applications of sanctions would probably do some good in giving a cold slap of reality to a regime that believes its own press too much. Just like Iran, Russia and China seem unwilling to move towards that step. One has to wonder when -- or if -- both nations will acknowledge the danger from Kim's nuclear arrogance, or whether the other Asian nations will have to act on their own to counter it.
UPDATE: Yeats, not Eliot, wrote "the center does not hold". Yikes! It's been far too long since my English-lit class in high school. Thanks to Vasily in the comments for making the correction.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:17 AM