A showdown without an exit… What next for the Korean Peninsula…

first_img Analysis & Opinion SHARE Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center By Daily NK – 2016.10.07 9:53am AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? A showdown without an exit… What next for the Korean Peninsula crisis? RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Analysis & Opinion Facebook Twitter Analysis & Opinion South Korean President Park Geun Hye announced in her ArmedForces Day speech that the soldiers and citizens of North Korea are always“welcome in the land of freedom – the Republic of Korea.” She also said, “Ournation will do all it can to address the provocations and crimes againsthumanity perpetrated by the North Korean regime” and “leave the path open sothat North Korean citizens can find hope and reimagine their lives.”When reflecting on the recent series of blunt criticisms andintensifying containment policy against the North, it seems that the Parkadministration is preparing for the end of the Kim Jong Un regime, even thoughit denies this. It can be surmised that there are elements within the Parkgovernment leaning toward more active measures against North Korea under theacknowledgement that the Kim Jong Un regime is showing little possibility fordesirable change.Changes in the socialist system can come from below withpublic demonstrations or from the top as the regime decides to change itself,as in the cases of China and Vietnam. But both ways are unlikely to occur inNorth Korea, because public expression is severely repressed by the regime. KimJong Un also appears satisfied with the current state of affairs and isunlikely to promote any significant reform of the system in the near future.Thus, in North Korea’s case, change can only be initiated byencouraging the emergence of cracks in the power structure. President Park’s‘defection encouraging’ remarks can be interpreted as going on the offensivewith an intention to accelerate collapse of the Kim Jong Un regime.The Obama administration, although reaching the end of itsterm, is also actively increasing pressure on North Korea. The US governmenthas sanctioned China’s Hongxiang Group in Liaoning Province, which is beingaccused of providing nuclear and missile-related materials to North Korea. Theadministration is also issuing formal requests to governments around the worldto sever or downgrade their economic and diplomatic relations with North Korea.In addition, the level of sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s fifth nucleartest in September is expected to surpass that of UNSC Resolution 2270 declaredin March.The North Korean regime is likely to continue itsprovocative actions. This year alone, it conducted two nuclear tests andsuccessfully launched a Musudan missile and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballisticmissiles). Experts also agree on a high likelihood of the regime continuing todevelop its intercontinental ballistic missiles including the KN-08 and KN-14to prepare them for actual deployment. In more serious scenarios, it ispossible that North Korea will attempt to fire a missile into waters off thewest coast of the US.The US is likely to maintain some level of strategicpatience until a predetermined threshold is crossed, but would not unilaterallyconduct military action against North Korea without some level of consent fromthe South Korean government. In recent months, the atmosphere on the Koreanpeninsula is ominously reaching levels last seen in 1994, when the need for amilitary response was more commonly discussed.The tension between South Korea and its allies and NorthKorea appears to be escalating. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton wrote in hismemoirs that back in 1994, during the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, he wasfirmly determined to use every measure at his disposal to prevent North Koreafrom developing nuclear weapons, even if it increased the risk of war. Itremains to be seen how the new administration will react if the Korean Peninsula tumbles further into crisis.*Views expressed in Guest Columns do not necessarily those of Daily NK. Analysis & Opinion Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *