And the bellicose rhetoric from Kim Jong-un continues...
By: Diane Sori
This past weekend North Korea (full name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) again tried to play the shell game of who holds the upper hand when they stated, “we are at war with the South.”
South Korea, their long time nemesis who they constantly refer to as a puppet of the US, heard these familiar words repeated yet again, and hopefully like all the times before this is just more grandiose posturing and 'face-saving' from the North's man-child 'Supreme Leader' Kim Jong-un. However, the reality is that the two Korea's have always technically remained at war, as the Korean War ended with a U(seless) N(ations) brokered agreement that suspended hostilities on the peninsula but ended it as an armistice instead of with a much needed peace treaty.
State media also reported that Kim Jong-un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists.” North Korea's leaders have always liked to hear themselves blow hot air against both the South and the US, and they did it again last week when Kim Jong-un ordered missiles to be ready to strike the US mainland and military bases at a moments notice after expressing outrage over two nuclear-capable stealth bombers that flew alongside South Korean forces over the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-un also had all communications hotlines with the South, with US forces, and with the U(seless) N(ations) dismantled as well as having fired a volley of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan.
But they can threaten all they want as the reality is that there really is little damage they could do to the US mainland as North Korea’s most advanced missiles are thought to be able to reach only as far as Alaska. But they could inflict tremendous damage on South Korea through the sheer number of their 'million+ man army' by launching 500,000 rounds of ammunition on the South within the first hour of an attack (Seoul is less than 200 miles from Pyongyang) as well as with their medium-range Rodong missiles (which have a range of about 800 miles) that could reach US bases in the South and in Japan as well.
Now add into this that Kim Jong-un has once again threatened to shut down the Kaesong Zone, a factory complex that's the last vestige of inter-Korean cooperation which gives the North access to $2 billion dollars in trade a year. Shutting down this complex would also trap hundreds of South Koreans who work at the 100+ firms that have factories there.
But the game continues as the question is why would Kim Jong-un want to trap them...what purpose would that serve. I'll tell you what purpose...they would be used as bargaining chips...hostages if you will...to extort both money from the South, and a removal of the U(seless) N(ations) sanctions against them, the newest of which is specifically targeting cash transfers. Sanctions that are hard to fight leaving them with what options...threatening war...unleashing more cyberattacks against the US...or worse...terrorist attacks carried out by their special operations forces.
The thought of that is chilling, because with North Korea being such a secretive country we don't know exactly what they have in their arsenal of 'nasties' and what they don't.
However, this complex and its factories have been shut down before and then re-opened after previous threats proved to be nothing but empty words...empty words and veiled threats by the North to totally dismantle the complex and nothing more. As such, this is seen as a sign that the North will NOT risk this guaranteed much needed source of foreign revenue by starting an actual military play against the South or against the US.
But adding a bit of drama-queen theatrics to the game, like most bloviating dictators like to do, is the words that any military provocation from South Korea or the US near the North-South land or sea border would result "in a full-scale conflict and a nuclear war.” But the question is how would they deliver such a weapon as they do NOT yet have the capability to mount a warhead on a deliverable rocket...or do they...as remember who their allies are...China, Russia, and the ever unstable Iran...and China and Russia do indeed have deliverable rocket capability.
And as the US continues to put pressure on China to reign North Korea in, China has called for restraint from the North for even they see the deliberate upswing in saber rattling emanating from a not-quite-all there man-child, and they also voted for the recent round of sanctions against North Korea.
China finally got something right simply because it's in their best interest to do so for the fact is that if the economic sanctions do work and food becomes even more scarce than it already is, China will be faced with millions of Korean refuges crossing their border, and that is something they do NOT want nor can afford to have happen.
And even Russia has now chimed in with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov saying, "We can simply see the situation getting out of control.” Out of control for sure, something that would NOT be good for them as Russia's monetary resources are already stretched thin with all the military aid and such they are expending in the Middle East. Russia is NOT the giant the old Soviet Union was and they cannot afford to have to police and support two unstable powder-keg areas of the world.
And now we have ratcheted up the game even more as we just sent two F-16 bombers to the Korean peninsula along with a Navy ballistic defense destroyer capable of shooting down any missiles the North might launch, and we positioned it right off shore.
So the shell game continues as the shells keep getting moved back and forth with us never knowing what's really under the one being moved around by the hand of a bloviating man-child who has his finger on a nuclear button.