Pyonyang to Seoul: Sanctions mean war

posted at 10:01 am on January 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A day after explicitly threatening the US with its missile and nuke program, North Korea turned its rhetorical sights south.  Pyongyang warned South Korea that cooperation in the new round of sanctions after its previous missile test would prompt “strong physical countermeasures,” and would amount to a “declaration of war”:

North Korea continued its barrage of fiery rhetoric Friday, warning South Korea of “strong physical countermeasures” if Seoul takes part in new U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing Pyongyang for a December rocket launch.

“Sanctions mean war and a declaration of war against us,” the Committee for Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Meanwhile, a representative for South Korea’s new president said she would not tolerate North Korean provocations, but would continue to push for dialogue with Pyongyang. A special envoy to President-elect Park Geun-hye made the remarks just hours after the North’s top governing body declared it would continue atomic tests and rocket launches.

The Associated Press believes that the threats are “overblown”:

In the face of international condemnation, North Korea can usually be counted on for such flights of rhetorical pique. In recent years it threatened to turn South Korea into a “sea of fire,” and to wage a “sacred war” against its enemies.

If the past is any indication, its threats of war are overblown. But the chances it will conduct another nuclear test are high. And it is gaining ground in its missile program, experts say, though still a long way from seriously threatening the U.S. mainland.

“It’s not the first time they’ve made a similar threat of war,” said Ryoo Kihl-jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “What’s more serious than the probability of an attack on South Korea is that of a nuclear test. I see very slim chances of North Korea following through with its threat of war.”

Although North Korea’s leadership is undeniably concerned that it might be attacked or bullied by outside powers, the tough talk is mainly an attempt to bolster its bargaining position in diplomatic negotiations.

That’s certainly been the case so far.  Pyongyang usually ramps up the rhetoric when either their internal political situation becomes shaky or they desperately need food and fuel supplies.  It’s winter, and it’s not too difficult to imagine that North Korea would be in desperate need of both at the moment, and may be applying pressure to get the UN and the Pacific Rim to back off of sanctions and give the DRPK some humanitarian aid.

Still, that’s an easy conclusion to reach from this far away.  ABC News reports from Seoul that they’re understandably a little more concerned that the rhetoric may be reality:

The Kim regime may be still crying wolf, but if they manage to put a nuke on a missile that can actually hit a target, that may change quickly. And they are progressing toward that capability, slowly as Gloria Riviera reports, but demonstrably. Even China seems to be taking this more seriously than in the past, threatening to cut aid to its client state if Kim doesn’t dial it down and return to the six-party talks. Sooner or later, the Kims will stop crying wolf and become the wolf if left unchecked.


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Send a few Boeing CHAMP missiles their way. Problem solved with no violence.

Logus on January 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

So the kid is more unhinged even than his Dad. Too bad.

Bmore on January 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Kim Jong can pick up the nuke, fly it to America, set it down in NY and use his mental superpowers to set it off. All before his breakfast of Super North Korea Flakes – NK STATE MEDIA

Slade73 on January 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Nothing a tractor-trailer full of Arby’s sammiches cant fix for Emperor Tubby^_^;;.

Jeddite on January 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Kim Jong-Lard has inherited the family insanity gene, good for him. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the butter-lover will tip over on his own from a massive coronary.

Bishop on January 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

All the players have been putting off the inevitable long enough for the north to get a nuke, or two.

cozmo on January 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

All the players have been putting off the inevitable long enough for the north to get a nuke, or two.

cozmo on January 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

More likely scenario is that The Jugeared Jackass will bow to Lil’ Kim and surrender.

Oldnuke on January 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

China is the only actor with pull in this. They had best start pulling.

Bmore on January 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Seems to me that war is going to end this one way or another. Wouldn’t the South Korea’s prefer that it be on their terms and before the Norks get a bunch of functionable, deliverable nukes? But, that’s just me.

besser tot als rot on January 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

A North Korean attack into the South is probably the only place in the world Obama won’t intervene.

Liam on January 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Mere rhetoric. Kim’s uncle is in charge, along with the generals. He may or may not be crazy, but there are rational actors there. A war would mean a devastated Seoul, but Pyonyang would be a crater.

I’d offer China a deal: a united Korean peninsula, with no permanent non-Korean troops north of the 38th parallel. I expect China would agree.

rbj on January 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

…where’s Jimmah Carter?

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

State Department currently looking under sofa cushions for its NK reset button.

JeremiahJohnson on January 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Nothing a tractor-trailer full of Arby’s sammiches cant fix for Emperor Tubby^_^;;.

Jeddite on January 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Actually, why don’t we start doing a Berlin style food and chocolate drop all over North Korea? Maybe hide a few crates of guns in the drop as well and then sit back for the revolution.

LoganSix on January 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

It would be a tragic shame if NKs nuke detonated before launch.

nobar on January 25, 2013 at 10:31 AM

If the past is any indication, its threats of war are overblown.

They will be ‘over blown” unti they aren’t. No one believed Hussein would invade Kuwayt, either. All the “experts” believed Hussein was simply posturing to extract concessions from the Kuwaytis…*OOPS*

So, one day the Kim Family will, most likely, invade S. Korea.

JFKY on January 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Anyone who believes that we could easily smash NorKo is, unfortunately, delusional. NorKo is China’s hand puppet, and no saber is rattled in Pyongyang without Beijing’s permission. Even a sane, patriotic President at the wheel instead of the current squatter, would not dare such confrontation without risking a new Cold War – except this time we’d depend on the enemy’s good graces, not the other way around as it was with the USSR.

Archivarix on January 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Anyone who believes that we could easily smash NorKo is, unfortunately, delusional. NorKo is China’s hand puppet, and no saber is rattled in Pyongyang without Beijing’s permission. Even a sane, patriotic President at the wheel instead of the current squatter, would not dare such confrontation without risking a new Cold War – except this time we’d depend on the enemy’s good graces, not the other way around as it was with the USSR.

Archivarix on January 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

It seems that the Chinese are getting a little tired of defending their Crazy Uncle known as North Korea. China would bail on North Korea in an instant if they provoked a war with South Korea or the US.

VinceOfDoom on January 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

He was on his way to Pyongyang, stopped off at Shangri-la on the way.

Bmore on January 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

My dream headline:

Seoul to Pyongyang: Get Stuffed

Blaise on January 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Nuke Pyongyang now, and get it over with. They’ve already openly threatened us, now they’re back to bullying the neighbors.

Screw it. Where’s the button?

mojo on January 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

As an irony of ironies, DPRK will find that the THREAT of having deliverable nukes is more beneficial to them than actually having one.

Once they have it, their only option is threaten to use it to get food. And that will most certainly will NOT work.

Jabberwock on January 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Wouldn’t they pose a bigger threat if they gave away they nuclear knowledge rather than actually use it. Aren’t their attempts of actually using the arsenal a tad shaky?

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

The problem is, they are giving (well, selling) it away. The longer this draws out (as an earlier post pointed out) the more the know-how and parts get out into the wild.

It’s a closed society. Who the knows what kind of wacky stuff goes on in the hinterlands there?

WitchDoctor on January 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Once they have it, their only option is threaten to use it to get food. And that will most certainly will NOT work.

Jabberwock on January 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

That’s the problem here – NorK is basically nothing more than a school yard bully threatening everyone to get their lunch money. At some point, China is likely to get tired of backing them up, and then there will be some kind of very sudden change. I seriously doubt China wants a war this time around, as they’ve figured out they can get better longer term control through economics – he!! they own us already.

dentarthurdent on January 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

They can burn down Seoul one time.

China may be about ready to say knock it off.

Speakup on January 25, 2013 at 11:30 AM

At some point, China is likely to get tired of backing them up, and then there will be some kind of very sudden change. I seriously doubt China wants a war this time around, as they’ve figured out they can get better longer term control through economics – he!! they own us already.

dentarthurdent on January 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Exactly; traitors and idiots mesmerized by peasant labor selling out to the ChiComs has done more to enslave us than the entire Soviet Union ever could’ve dreamed.

Had the USSR somehow managed to actually attempt a land invasion we’d have fought like demons. Had some Marxist loon actually launched missiles, we’d have sent one last strike from the free world and blown them all to hell.

But we sold out to China because business in a land that hasn’t been openly Communist for decades, along with treating workers better than disposable diapers, is just too darn expensive.

MelonCollie on January 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Someone should remind them of how that worked out for the Japanese.

njcommuter on January 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Heh. Short war: next time Goofy has one of those Soviet style military circle-jerks in Pyonyang just drop a Daisy Cutter or MOAB in there. All of the Norks who have eaten in the last month will be dead. Walk in and turn off the lights.

Jaibones on January 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Heh. Short war: next time Goofy has one of those Soviet style military circle-jerks in Pyonyang just drop a Daisy Cutter or MOAB in there. All of the Norks who have eaten in the last month will be dead. Walk in and turn off the lights.

Jaibones on January 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I like the idea – but we could probably get China to do it for us if we threatened that we might actually get our own federal budget in order – or default on all the T-bills they have.
I know – won’t ever happen, and they’d laugh off the bluff, but what the he!!, it might be worth a try…..

dentarthurdent on January 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Hard to post on this thread.
Faulty script error of some sort – that doesn’t happen on any other thread.

dentarthurdent on January 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Spelling error in headline:

Pyongyang NOT Pyonyang

slp on January 25, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Directly or indirectly we still supply aid to North Korea. Look at the reality of this they have limited resources.
Instead of spending those resources on infrastructure. WE do that.
This allows North Korea to develop Nuclear Weapons and ICBM missiles. Why does North Korea do this? Simple! For export and cash flow. They develop and manufacture the weapons and sell to the highest bidder.
By providing “Humanitarian help” we are removing the “GUNS or BUTTER” concerns and allowing the North to develop and to proliferate Weapons of Mass Destruction to all terrorist groups world wide.

jpcpt03 on January 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM