It’s time once again to play, “What are the North Koreans thinking?” Today’s question comes to us via the UN Security Council, which had to be non-plussed at the latest communication from Pyongyang, which has steadfastly refused to abide by UNSC resolutions to stop working on nuclear weapons and missile tests. In what can only be described as a diplomatic version of Mom, he hit me back, the DPRK complained that the US and South Korea had created an atmosphere of a simmering nuclear conflict:
North Korea has again threatened war against South Korea and the United States, saying conditions “for a simmering nuclear war” have been created on the peninsula.
The communist state’s foreign ministry said it will inform the UN Security Council of the latest situation, as tensions continue to simmer on Wednesday.
“Upon authorisation of the Foreign Ministry, the DPRK openly informs the UN Security Council that the Korean Peninsula now has the conditions for a simmering nuclear war,” the statement said. “This is because of provocation moves by the US and South Korean puppets”.
Well, gee, what might have prevented that? Perhaps some negotiation from Pyongyang — and respect for the UN Security Council resolutions of the last two decades. It’s difficult to get too humorous about this situation under the circumstances, but running to the UNSC to complain about the US after the decades of thumbing its nose at Turtle Bay would normally be hilarious.
The Kim regime has also cut off the last communication links to the Republic of Korea:
Raising tensions with South Korea yet again, North Korea cut a military hotline that has been essential in operating the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation: an industrial complex in the North that employs hundreds of workers from the South.
There was no immediate word about what cutting one of the few remaining official North-South links would mean for South Korean workers who were at the Kaesong industrial complex. When the link was last cut, in 2009, many South Koreans were stranded in the North.
The hotline shutdown is the latest of many threats and provocative actions from North Korea, which is angry over U.S.-South Korean military drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test. In a statement announcing the shutdown, the North repeated its claim that war may break out any moment.
We are rapidly approaching the point of no return, where Kim Jong-un will have to do something in order to demonstrate his mettle to the military command of the DPRK. Even if that doesn’t happen, the heightened alert status on both sides could produce an event that will spin quickly into a war. That almost happened earlier today, as a South Korean soldier on patrol saw movement near the border and threw a grenade, thinking that the DPRK had started infiltrating across the line. It turned out to be nothing, but with tensions running this high, it won’t take much more than that to restart the Korean War.
Here’s a handy video from Al-Jazeera English’s analyst explaining how misunderstood Pyongyang is in this conflict, and top that off with this interview of a documentarian who insists that the West really does misunderstand the popularity of the Kim regime. Oh, and they have pretty decent pizza in Pyongyang … for those allowed to actually eat food. Bon appetit.