North Korea v South Korea: Fools rush in
Sun May 30 08:00AM .
Both North and South Korea have begun preparations for war in a week where relations between the two countries broke down to the worst they have been since the Korean War of 1950-53.
The latest confrontation came about when a South Korean navy ship was sunk by a torpedo on 26th March, killing 46 South Korean sailors.
North Korea is denying all responsibility for the sinking of the ship but the evidence is mounting to the contrary. A fleet of North Korean submarines left its port 2-3 days before the attack took place and investigators from five countries concluded that it was a North Korean torpedo that sank the warship.
In response, the South announced a series of reprisals including a trade cut-off and is seeking United Nations Security censure of the North, but for that to happen it needs to convince veto-wielding member China, an ally of North Korea, that the North was indeed responsible for the sinking of the ship.
Russia, which fought alongside the North during the Korean War, is demanding to see proof that it was responsible before it takes any action, a sensible approach all things considered. After all, what did we learn from the Iraq War? If you're planning to go in, make sure you can justify it. Seven years on we're still waiting for those weapons of mass destruction to turn up.
North Korea is hardly helping its own cause, mind, assuming peace is the country's preferential outcome. It this week threatened ‘all-out war' against the South if it breaches established water territories.
Something doesn't quite sit right about this to me. If North Korea wanted to secretly attack South Korea, why would it use torpedoes which could easily be identified as its own? And if it did in fact launch the torpedo, why would it bother denying it? North Korea, as we've seen in the past week, is not the most timid of countries, so it strikes me as strange that the latter could be the case.
The next week will be vital to the future of the Koreas, where China and Russia hold the key to the outcome. If China and Russia back North Korea as they have done in the past, it will give the North the confidence to take on the South and the United States, as it did in the Korean War. If China and/or Russia don't back North Korea (they are unlikely to back the South, but could remain impartial) then the North surely must desist with its aggressive stance or risk being wiped out.
I'm not retreating, I'm attacking in a different direction! Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller