The tension in relations between the USA and North Korea is gradually reaching a critical point. And although the whole of the world is anticipating a war in Iraq, it is not ruled out at the same time that a war may also break out on the Korean peninsula. At least, it seems that both sides decided to realize their threats in practice. Otherwise, the mutual demonstration of military strength is just a bluff designed for that party which nerves will prove weaker.
US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is famous for his unreserve, called the North Korean government “a terrorist regime”. To tell the truth, nothing else can be expected from Rumsfeld: he automatically adds any country to sponsors of terrorists if this country refuses to give up its nuclear program. However, the USA still keeps on increasing the strength of its troops in the Far East. If this is done with a view to warn Pyongyang, Washington has achieved this goal. North Korea took America’s plain hint. But all the same it started up a nuclear reactor Yonben.
In an interview to BBC North Korea Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Pyong-gap said that the country was ready to deliver several pre-emptive blows in response to strengthening of America’s presence in the region. The diplomat said, “Pyongyang won’t passively wait for development of the situation; if necessary, a decision will be taken to make pre-emptive attacks.”
To all appearances, this pre-emptive blow can be delivered in two directions only, toward South Korea and Japan. If ground battles start on the Korean peninsula, it is highly likely that North Korean missiles may hit the Japanese islands. It is just the problem of stuffing of these bombs. According to some sources, North Korea already has a couple of nuclear bombs, however no evidence is available to prove this information. Donald Rumsfeld says that it may take North Korea just a short period of time to get six or eight bombs more, but these statements raise much doubt.
To tell the truth, even without nuclear weapons a war on the Korean peninsula may entail catastrophic consequences. The North Korean army is 1 million people strong, and it undoubtedly can be increased more. The South Korean army is approximately 2.5-3 times less, plus 37 thousands of American soldiers. Certainly, America and South Korea enjoy overwhelming superiority in military technique. But will this factor be decisive if military operations begin? Not to mention the fact that South Korean economy will be if not destroyed completely, but paralyzed as a result of military operations. And it is not clear what consequences these operations may bring to Japan’s economy.
But this is the most pessimistic scenario according to which the situation may develop. For the time being, Washington and Pyongyang keep on exchanging just mutual threats. At the same time, they hope that negotiations may be still started. Unfortunately, neither the USA, nor North Korea wish to come to consent and take measures to improve their relations.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/15/42/6714_NorthKorea.html
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