North Korea threatens more strikes over South Korean military exercises

posted at 12:55 pm on December 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Almost four weeks after North Korea shelled a South Korean island and killed a number of civilians, they have threatened to retaliate even further if South Korea proceeds with a military exercise.  The threat heightens tensions on the Korean Peninsula and may put even more pressure on China to rein in its client state:

North Korea said on Friday it would strike again at the South if a live-firing drill planned by Seoul on a disputed island went ahead, with an even stronger response than last month’s shelling that killed four people.

North Korean official news agency KCNA said the “intensity and scope” of its retaliation will be worse if the Seoul goes through with its announced one-day live-fire drills sometime between Saturday and Tuesday on Yeonpyeong Island.

Pyongyang responded to similar drills on November 23rd with the shelling of the same island.  North Korea claims the island as its own, although it has been internationally recognized as part of the Republic of Korea.  The difference comes from the UN-brokered demarcation line in the Yellow Sea and a 1999 declaration by Kim Jong-il’s regime that moved the line significantly to the south.  That allowed Pyongyang to claim ownership of Yeonpyeong as well as two other islands internationally recognized as under the sovereignty of Seoul.

The question will be what China does about its tinpot-dictatorship client.  The Wikileaks cables suggest that China has lost enthusiasm for Kim and his regime, but they also don’t want to precipitate a collapse that will send millions of refugees across the border, either.  China has already responded that the US needs to partner with them to “reduce tensions,” but it’s Kim that is firing the shells, not the US or Seoul.

That may not last much longer, either.  After the previous attack, the first in decades on the South, Seoul promised an “enormous retaliation” against Pyongyang, which sets the stage for a war that may well go nuclear.  No one but Kim wants that outcome, but if he keeps raining shells on the South, a war may be inevitable.  Since China will suffer the most consequences from such a war (after the two principals, of course), they should be pressed to use their influence and power to upend the Kim regime as soon as possible and find someone else to run the benighted northern dictatorship.


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Comments

The question will be what China does about its tinpot-dictatorship client.

China is trying to be the mediatation squad for both. Only problem is… NoKo is not willing to back down and SoKo is tired of being bullied.

China is getting the cold shoulder from both at the moment.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Does anyone else get the feeling that Kim wants to go out with a bang, and take as many ppl with him as possible when he’s on his death bed?

Go RBNY on December 17, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Does anyone else get the feeling that Kim wants to go out with a bang, and take as many ppl with him as possible when he’s on his death bed?

Go RBNY on December 17, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Fireworks to bring in the new Son? Quite a few people have that feeling.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:05 PM

China has already responded that the US needs to partner with them to “reduce tensions,”

they do have us by our debt, don’t they….

cmsinaz on December 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Call the bluff.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM

There are a lot of American military dependents in Seoul and they are our marker that we’ll go to war if the NOKOs attack SOKO.

E9RET on December 17, 2010 at 1:07 PM

HA doesn’t do international stories.

mankai on December 17, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Seoul promised an “enormous retaliation” against Pyongyang, which sets the stage for a war that may well go nuclear

Sounds good to me – get it over with.

Vashta.Nerada on December 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

I know many Chinese students here at the university and they are nice… so there is no story here.

/HA logic

/glutton for punishment

mankai on December 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

North Korea is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China. Any consideration of it as a soveriegn state is pure propaganda.

A war between North and South Korea is not an issue — it never has been. This dispute is entirely between China and South Korea.

And the only question is why would China not want to put pressure on South Korea? South Korea is a rich nation, and China is a very large Communist country with weak neighbors and rapidly expanding appetites. There’s only one way that can ever turn out.

China knows full well South Korea won’t declare war on them, so they really have nothing to lose unless the US becomes involved. And, seriously, what are the odds of that happening under the current administration?

logis on December 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

You can only push a man so far. One of these days the NorKs are going to do something stupid, and the first warning that the ROKs are responding is going to be seismographs world wide recording the destruction of NorK fortifications near
Seoul.

Slowburn on December 17, 2010 at 1:14 PM

logis on December 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

China has nothing in particular to gain from over doing it on South Korea.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:15 PM

mankai on December 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

looks at you with the Dr. Spock eye.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM

logis on December 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

NoKo is more a Bastard Child and Kim is a rabid un-attainable dog they could and have never been able too control. China may think they have NoKo… I am thinking otherwise.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Call the bluff.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM

I agree, even in the remote chance it’s not a bluff. Admittedly, it’s easy for me to say that as I’m not the one governing or living in a state whose largest city (Seoul) is in direct artillery range from a madman. But IMHO we’re long overdue for a zero tolerance policy toward the NORKs.

jwolf on December 17, 2010 at 1:19 PM

North Korea is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China. Any consideration of it as a soveriegn state is pure propaganda.

logis on December 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

North Korea is China’s id. China uses NK to implement foreign policy they don’t want their fingerprints on. 90% of NK imports come from China – NK would collapse in a week without Chinese support.

Vashta.Nerada on December 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM

jwolf on December 17, 2010 at 1:19 PM

It has to be a bluff. China does not want to go to war with S.Korea and the United States.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM

It has to be a bluff. China does not want to go to war with S.Korea and the United States.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Or maybe China does but Obama won’t play?

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:24 PM

The chief problem here is that you have someone calling the shots in North Korea who, to put it bluntly, is nuttier than a Georgia peanut plantation.

Add to this that, thanks to China, North Korea most likely has enough in its own arsenal to make the Korean War back in the 1950’s look like a moderate war games exercise.

Oh, and don’t forget that South Korea is only going to allow itself to be pushed only so far until they finally say enough is enough and do something really stupid, which is most likely what North Korea is actually going for in the first place, namely an excuse to commence showing the South just how much they DO have in that arsenal of theirs.

No matter how you slice this plate of kimchi, this is going to get ugly.

pilamaye on December 17, 2010 at 1:24 PM

mankai on December 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

looks at you with the Dr. Spock eye.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM

or was that the Mr. Spock eye?

trapeze on December 17, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Nasty.

lexhamfox on December 17, 2010 at 1:25 PM

I would say that the best policy is to simply reiterate what has already been said and simply ignore the latest threats from NK.

crosspatch on December 17, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Bottom line, they are playing a dangerous game and I am afraid that they may have believed their own propaganda. Technologically, NoKo is 30 to 50 years behind SoKo, one of the reasons why they maybe pushing the nuclear option so hard as way to balance the odds.

However, they more they can convince, SoKo that allowing them to have nuclear weapons is not an acceptable choice. The sooner Seoul may decide to go for it, potentially hoisting dear leader on his own petard.

El Coqui on December 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Or maybe China does but Obama won’t play?

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Irrelevant. China does not want to go to war. Under no circumstances would it be beneficial for them in the least. Regardless of your thoughts on Obama, China does not want to go to war just to protect a worthless, starving buffer zone.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

What do you do with a sh*thead that has threatened escalation for almost 60 years?

Try it.

It’s about time.

vinman on December 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

ummm think about what you said. Right now, you have a Chinese military itching for a fight. NoKo is farking crazy and a bunch of Nations around them that are putting up their own missle defenses (Russia) around NoKo and it is primary to the boarders of China.

What makes you think the Chinese aren’t itching for a fight? Just because they hold our debt over our heads doesn’t mean they don’t want to beat the crap out of someone as well.

China is the Nation everyone now goes to…. and you really don’t know where they are in the realm of character as they do shady deals with just about every Nation.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Give them another bag of rice and wait.

Little Boomer on December 17, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Or maybe China does but Obama won’t play?

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Oh puh-leaze! If the bombing starts, Obama is going to cower in his Oval Office behind his golf clubs bag!

pilamaye on December 17, 2010 at 1:36 PM

What do you do with a sh*thead that has threatened escalation for almost 60 years?

Try it.

It’s about time.

vinman on December 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Yeah, except when the sh*thead in question happens to identify with the opening lines of the song, “Addicted To Love”.

“The lights are on,
But you’re not home…”

pilamaye on December 17, 2010 at 1:39 PM

North Korea has nothing to lose.
South Korea has everything to lose.

albill on December 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Oh puh-leaze! If the bombing starts, Obama is going to cower in his Oval Office behind his golf clubs bag!

pilamaye on December 17, 2010 at 1:36 PM

you know what I meant. *wink*

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:47 PM

There comes a time to put an end to these kinds of regimes. N. Korea’s is long past.

Scrappy on December 17, 2010 at 1:49 PM

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 1:34 PM

The chinese military isn’t itching for a fight. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, out there that could possibly lead anyone to believe that the Chinese are itching for full scale war in their back yard. You’re dreaming.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Just what I would expect out of a sick and paranoid old man.

sadatoni on December 17, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Call their bluff, then shell and destroy every artillery battery within 50 miles of the border.

GarandFan on December 17, 2010 at 1:59 PM

That may not last much longer, either. After the previous attack, the first in decades on the South, Seoul promised an “enormous retaliation” against Pyongyang, which sets the stage for a war that may well go nuclear. No one but Kim wants that outcome, but if he keeps raining shells on the South, a war may be inevitable.

It would be suicidal for either Korea to launch a nuclear attack against the other, because radioactive fallout would reach the attacking country.

The main danger of war is the thousands of artillery pieces aimed at Seoul, which could inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties before they could be destroyed (presumably by joint South Korean / US airstrikes). If North Korea fired at Seoul, all-out war would become justified for the South.

The islands in question, even if they “belong” to South Korea, are extremely vulnerable, located much closer to the North Korean mainland to the north than the South Korean mainland much farther to the east.

Although a “show of force” by the South is needed in the area after the North’s unprovoked shelling, the islands are strategically weak for the South–is the South willing to risk a wider war in order to defend the islands?

Steve Z on December 17, 2010 at 1:59 PM

China has to keep NoKo just strong enough so that SoKo is not able to unify the two on its terms, lest Korea become too powerful. The Japanese are cool with that also.

pedestrian on December 17, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Call their bluff, then shell and destroy every artillery battery within 50 miles of the border.

GarandFan on December 17, 2010 at 1:59 PM

This. Well, that, and lobby more heavily for Japanese rearmament.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:06 PM

The chinese military isn’t itching for a fight. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, out there that could possibly lead anyone to believe that the Chinese are itching for full scale war in their back yard. You’re dreaming.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Tell that to the U.S. Navy and those interesting boats off the coast of Alaska.

OH, that is right.. you don’t HEAR about them because our MSM doesn’t talk about it. Get with the program ernie… google, yahoo and other internet search engines are your FRIENDS. Until your Liberal demi-gods try to shut it down that is!

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Sooner or later, NK is gonna have to pay a price for their shenanigans. I don’t advocate war, but man, a Tomahawk missle into Kim’s house a-la the message we sent Quaddafi would be so…choice!

search4truth on December 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 2:07 PM

So let me get this straight:

China decides that is ought to have a blue water navy, and begins to swim around Alaska. That’s supposed to tell me that they’re justing DYING to get into a full scale war over the Korean peninsula??? There’s about 37 logical steps that you’re missing there. How can you possibly turn a few boats off the Alaskan coast into China just itching for a full scale war??

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:16 PM

It’s time to end the Korean War.

Hening on December 17, 2010 at 2:16 PM

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, out there that could possibly lead anyone to believe that the Chinese are itching for full scale war in their back yard. You’re dreaming.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:51 PM

1997 article on China planning a US conflict

Google the 2006 book Showdown: Why China Wants War With the United States, one of seven books on China’s desire for hegemony in East Asia. The Chinese language books for domestic consumption are more bellicose.

Ernesto, try and keep up. Your lack of relevant research is glaringly evident.
You’re at least 10 years behind the times.

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

1 article from 1997, and one book?

Even if I were to accept your premise, a Korean conflict would no secure hegemony for China in East Asia. Besides, they’ll get that without firing a single shot. It still doesn’t add up: China won’t risk it all in a fight to the death over Korea. You’re dreaming.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Also, from the 1997 rebuttal of the article you posted:

There is no “China threat,” not because China is a benign giant but because it is too weak to challenge the balance of power. China can damage U.S. interests, but it does not require containment. The most striking aspect of Chinese foreign policy is its effort to promote stability. Indeed, China is easier to deal with today than ever before. The United States needs a policy to contend with China’s ability to destabilize Asia, not a policy to deal with a future hegemon. China is a revisionist power, but for the foreseeable future it will seek to maintain the status quo-and so should the United States.

You’ve not done much to support the contrary position.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Call the bluff.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM
I agree, even in the remote chance it’s not a bluff. Admittedly, it’s easy for me to say that as I’m not the one governing or living in a state whose largest city (Seoul) is in direct artillery range from a madman. But IMHO we’re long overdue for a zero tolerance policy toward the NORKs.

jwolf

We have very few tools in our toolbox to use before we go nuclear. That’s been the dirty secret for decades, not just for this administration. There are tens of thousands of American military dependents north of the Han River. The murder or capture of thousands of American civilians would force any president to take swift and direct action.

Any conflict started by the NOKOs has a high potential of the use of nuclear weapons.

E9RET on December 17, 2010 at 2:30 PM

It would be suicidal for either Korea to launch a nuclear attack against the other, because radioactive fallout would reach the attacking country. …

Steve Z on December 17, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Your false belief about the danger of fallout, has enabled dictators, and psychopaths since the end of WWII. Taking even simple precautions reduces the danger tremendously. Adding a neutron capturing casing to the war head and the TSA body scans are more dangerous.

Slowburn on December 17, 2010 at 2:33 PM

I don’t think China would come into a conflict with us over this.
I think they’re itching to ruin us, but not necessarily fight us out in the open.
I think they are slowly building up their power, militarily, for the future when they will bully the rest of the world to do their bidding.
China is proud.
They want to be THE world’s superpower.
That is why they allow commerce to happen with little interference so far.
It is in their best interest to make us all economically dependent upon them.
Meanwhile they act like our friend while they steal our knowledge & our secrets.
They are our enemy. But they are the sly secret enemy who smiles in your face & stabs you secretly in the back.

Badger40 on December 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Gee whiz.

If we had a President who said what he meant and meant what he said, and took seriously that “against all enemies foreign and domestic” thing, maybe P’yongyang wouldn’t believe that it could push the limits beyond the limits of sanity.

They know that this Administration will do nothing except call for more talks, kick the can down the road a bit, offer all sorts of fiscal inducements, and blame Boooosh, should North Korea decide to get stupid with the rest of the world.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Badger40 on December 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

A ruined US and Europe would mean a stalled Chinese economy. As much as they are on the up and up, I can’t imagine there coming a time when they could render most of the world’s economy irrelevant.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:38 PM

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:16 PM

ernie, do you know anything about history?

Do you realize Alaska and ONE other State were actually invaded in WWII? Do you know why? I sure do. Let me give you a little hint.. it has to deal with ships and the flow of products.

You take the Bering Sea, you got a whole lot of people at your whim.

The Japanese tried this tactic, but didn’t think it thru very well. they only thought of deflecting any ships even though there was not much exporting going on, there was some. If they would have tried to keep up with taking of the ships and not trying to just bomb the small bases on Adak, or try to take the town of Unalaska… they would have probably took Alaska.

But since you never served.. here is something to ponder that you may not play all the time via the game Risk. When you go for a larger entity (aka war), you try to take the most expensive area and costliest to gain back, first. Then you branch off from there. I guess you never played Army or Risk as a child though.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Except, of course, that they can’t take the Bering Sea. They aren’t even close to being able to project power of that sort. You’re dreaming. China has nothing to gain from turning the current Korean hostilities into a full scale war with the United States. You’ve yet to address this central point; your other points are all tangential and frankly irrelevant.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

A ruined US and Europe would mean a stalled Chinese economy. As much as they are on the up and up, I can’t imagine there coming a time when they could render most of the world’s economy irrelevant.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:38 PM

The US did very well following WWII, thank you very much.

The one thing we know for sure about the Chinese is that they could not care less about the loss of human life, provided it is not their own.

pedestrian on December 17, 2010 at 2:56 PM

How is North Korea’s threat of unprovoked aggression a threat to “retaliate further”? You’ve fallen for their own linguistic spin.

ProfessorMiao on December 17, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Except, of course, that they can’t take the Bering Sea.
ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

You know this seems familiar. I think you were the one giving me crap about an island that wasn’t close to Russia… which I gave you a link too.

How about you do this and learn ernie. Google ADAK ISLAND and tell me WTF it is and what “oceans and seas” it boarders.

Then come back and talk to me.

upinak on December 17, 2010 at 3:07 PM

You’ve not done much to support the contrary position.

ernesto on December 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Look deeper. Read my posts, ponder, do your own research, since every external utterance is but blather to you. Are your analytical skills limited to taking Soros / Pravda Times and Newsweek utterances as received wisdom? 1997 was the baseline, events have moved on, and the internal Chinese market is being fed raw, bellicose nationalism.

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Of all the nations in the world, North Korea is particularly susceptible to decapitation. Less than one-tenth of 1% of the population exercises control over the remainder of the population. And, since the death of Kim Il-sung, there have been various factions promoting themselves among the leadership/ruling class. The selection of Kim Jong-un as the soon-to-be Leader in Chief, the internecine struggles of these factions have not abated.

Will North Korea fight? Might start something, but projections involved in the updates to OPLAN 5027/5029/5030 show that if faced with a major counterforce, and select targetting, the leadership will collapse, along with the rest of the country. It will not be pretty. Local war lords taking advantage of the chaos may decide to carve out their own little fiefdoms. But the NKPA is a largely static force, and is greatly ossified. Less than a few hours per year allowed for pilot training and proficiency. A coastal navy that is for the most part not allowed to engage in exercises other than small unit exercises. An army led by Kim Chong-il loyalists chosen for their fervor toward KCI rather than for having actual military skills.

Loyalty is taken care of by annual payments to loyal members of the military and Party leadership. And these gifts have been dwindling in value as each year passes. Right now, the bulk of such gidfts involve basic foodstuffs and medical supplies, and a Volvo or Mercedes for the important followers of KCI, with limited gasoline, very limited.

A good analogy would be the military class under the last few Tsars of Russia…all uniform, no bang.

But, the hinging factor in all of this is the proximity of Seoul, Inchon, and the new cities being built like gangbusters in the Han River estuary. All are within range of NK long-range artillery and most NK missile systems, and as one American commander pointed out years ago, essentially we will know we are at war with North Korea about 20 minutes after the second barrage of artillery hits downtown Seoul.

At some point, NK has to be decapitated.

It will be costly. How to handle several million South Koreans killed, wounded, displaced, and how to handle 29 million North Koreans leaderless with no supporting infrastructure and a lifelong engrained hostility to South Korea, the US and most of the rest of the world?

With only one large airfield in the country (Sunan) and a road system similar to 1954 Albania, and a rail system geared toward two chokepoints at the Chinese border, getting necessary aid to the survivors will not be easy. Doing so while pockets of fighting are posing a major danger it may be next to impossible.

But doable? Yes.

The other factor is how to control South Korea should hostilities break out.

That is a great unknown.

And there is always China. A clear South Korean rout of North Korea’s military will not sit well in Beijing.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Thanks, coldwarrior. Great post, as usual. We are but grasshopper posters to your analysis. I trust you are doing well.
I’ll add for others, look up North Korea Uncovered, the Google Earth project, for data.

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 3:28 PM

And there is always China. A clear South Korean rout of North Korea’s military will not sit well in Beijing.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Who will have to deal with the starving refugees and which way will they be fleeing?

Oldnuke on December 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Bring it on, chumps. You start the shit and China is unlikely to bail you out.

mojo on December 17, 2010 at 3:40 PM

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Doing better than I have been lately. That reprobate youth is catching up with me.

Ditto in the North Korea Uncovered aspect.

Oldnuke on December 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Had an interesting conversation a number of years ago with a few “commie” military officers from that part of the world. I was a bit surprised when they said that having a US-presence in the region is vital…to keep both South Korea and Japan from getting too big for their britches. This is what a South Korean rout of North Korea’s military might do to upset the apple cart out there. A new “Korea” and a more and more nationalistic Japan can easily change the entire complexion of the region. Something Russia has no strong desire to deal with, either.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

We may misread Red China because of our lack of understanding of stupid Oriental notions of pride and honor. Will Red China feel obliged to support their ally no matter how foolish the Norkies may be in stumbling into war?

Do the Red Chinese see the Bamster as weak and unlikely to come to South Korea’s aid in a timely or fully committed fashion? Though they may not have chosen the Korean theater, will they see it as an opportunity to push the USA out of the Western Pacific and free their hand wrt Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, etc?

Dangerous times.

slickwillie2001 on December 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Something Russia has no strong desire to deal with, either.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I don’t think anyone wants to deal with that problem. Eventually though someone will have to. As for a new nationalistic Japan, nothing new. Underneath that Western style suit beats the heart of a Samurai just biding it’s time.

Oldnuke on December 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Doing better than I have been lately.
coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Good to hear. Have a great Christmas and a healthy new year.

That reprobate youth is catching up with me.

If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

NaCly dog on December 17, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Both China and Russia have taken a harder line on the West’s response to the NorKs. This signals a new paradigm that does not bode well for a peaceful outcome. They both likely have limited influence in reality but they aren’t even trying to look responsible now.

jnelchef on December 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM

jnelchef on December 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM

In the face of a perceived (or actual) weakened US in the Western Pacific rim, perhaps both China and Russia are looking toward a new shared hegemony in the region? If they do not do so now, when will they get this sort of opportunity again? Face it, anything to diminish the upstart “single superpower” is something both find devilishly good.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 4:07 PM

North Korea is far more dangerous than most people are aware of. It’s easy to make quick quips based on emotion. It’s better to be informed.

See Defiant Failed State by Bruce E. Bechtol. He has a good grasp of the issues involved.

For those lacking the time to read this book, here is a recent speech at the Korea Economic Institute, on the very day that Yeonpyeong was shelled by the North Koreans, killing four South Koreans.

secretfire on December 17, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Bruce writes a very good book. His previous one on North Korea, Red Rogue, was darn good as well. And, yes, since the early 1990’s we have pretty much pushed our NK policy to a side-show status, not part of the big top dog and pony show. And now we may have to pay a price for that. Had senior US government officials state categorically back in 1992-3 that since the Russians stopped being Communists that all the rest would crumble within a couple years. Had senior intel officials state that since we could never actually recruit a North Korea to work for us, then why bother trying. [He was grossly misinformed.]

NK is not a communist country. It is a family business.

It chooses to deal with whomever it wishes when it wishes so long as there is money to be made and enough money to be made to pay off those who support the regime in P’yongyang.

NK had ties with jihadists long before jihadists became a common term here in the US. NK has been trading nuclear weapons technology with anyone who wants it and who can pay or exchange improved nuke tech with them in return. Its primary export is cheap military hardware, cheap enough to be afforded by those who do not have unlimited resources, and good enough to stand at least a few weeks of the rigors of war. All that is needed, according to NK military policy. The idea of international agreements are meaningless to them, unless it provides for the survival of the NK ruling class.

That said…they do have one enormous weakness. At the very top.

Like I said earlier, decapitation seems the best option should North Korea decide to become really really stupid.

How to do so…that’s where the real money is going to be made.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Went to P.F. Chang’s for our Christmas luncheon.

Coincidence?

mankai on December 17, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Like I said earlier, decapitation seems the best option should North Korea decide to become really really stupid.
coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

The next dozen people in line of succesion are at least as unhinged as the Mentally Il family they’d be replacing — and that’s by design.

If somebody “smarter” is put in power now, it will be whoever China picks — with Obama’s blessing.

logis on December 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM

The next dozen people in line of succesion are at least as unhinged as the Mentally Il family they’d be replacing — and that’s by design.

If somebody “smarter” is put in power now, it will be whoever China picks — with Obama’s blessing.

logis on December 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM

That’s the problem. It’s a better solution for Iran actually, because we know the alternatives there. It’s like the ‘wish we could have assassinated Hitler’ idea. What if Rommel or Guderian had succeeded him? What if the Kim family is succeeded by someone with a fully developed brain?

slickwillie2001 on December 17, 2010 at 5:20 PM

If somebody “smarter” is put in power now, it will be whoever China picks — with Obama’s blessing.

logis on December 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Obama will beg China to install someone friendly to the US. He will say that unless they do, his presidency is finished.

The Chinese, unlike the GOP, will know what that means.

pedestrian on December 17, 2010 at 5:23 PM

The next dozen people in line of succesion are at least as unhinged as the Mentally Il family they’d be replacing — and that’s by design.

Actually, I’m leaning toward O Kuk-nyol, myself.

He’s not a nut job, and fell out of favor with Kim Il-sung a time or two. Has served overseas (Vietnam and Egypt) as a combat air force pilot and is presently one of the top generals who is keeping the probability of Kim Jong-un taking over from his dad a priority. Influence? Yes.

Rumor has it that he (and a few other senior officers) took exception to Kim Chong-il’s oldest son (we used to call him Cute Leader because of the earing) who is now in a rather luxurious exile in Macau from assuming the mantle.

The second son is certifiable. Truly nuts.

The youngest? The heir apparent? He knows how the game is played, to say the least. The recent artillery barrage was probably one of his ideas. He and KCI visited the artillery site just prior to the barrage. On a official guidance and introduce the troops to the new leader visit. I’d guess he wanted to show a little piss and vinegar to both the military and his old man.

As for O Kuk-nyol, he is a distant cousin of the current Kim family…and was related to the former Chief of the NKPA, O Chin-u…who allowed Kim Chong-il to take over rather bloodlessly when the elder Kim died a decade or so ago.

Not all are nut jobs. But all have a dog in the fight in some fashion or other. War Lords? Quite possible when the wheels fall off the Kim cart.

coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Like I said earlier, decapitation seems the best option should North Korea decide to become really really stupid.
coldwarrior on December 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Their chain of command is as rotten as ours; get rid of Dear Leader and the next five people in line are just as mental.

Dark-Star on December 17, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Both China and Russia have taken a harder line on the West’s response to the NorKs. This signals a new paradigm that does not bode well for a peaceful outcome. They both likely have limited influence in reality but they aren’t even trying to look responsible now.

jnelchef on December 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Sensing Obama’s weakness. Only a surprise to liberals. It would be fun to see the real worldwide foreign intelligence estimates about President Obama.

As for North Korea continuing to act up, if they get too uppity I have two words: Black Ops.

scotash on December 18, 2010 at 6:09 AM