Thursday 28 March 2013

North Korean threats

It is difficult to imagine a country can wage war on the no.1 super-power when its people are starving

North Korea: Military ‘On Alert’ to Attack Hawaii, US Mainland

Chinese Analysts Urge 'Concrete Steps' to Calm Situation

27 March, 2013

The latest in a line of tit-for-tat bellicosity across the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean Army Supreme Command has issued a statement saying that they are on “highest alert,” prepared to hit Hawaii and the US mainland.

The Pentagon responded by condemning North Korea, and accusing them of being a “threat to peace on the peninsula.” Of course over the past weeks the Pentagon has been flying nuclear bombers over the portion of South Korean airspace near the border, so both sides seem to be ratcheting up tensions.

Threats against Hawaii and the US West Coast are common for North Korea as well, though North Korea’s missile systems are mostly designed around attacking South Korea, and their ability to reliably hit Hawaii, let alone California, is in serious doubt.

The ever worsening rhetoric on both sides also has China concerned, and foreign policy analysts predict that the new Chinese government may take “concrete steps” to try to calm the situation. They will struggle to find a balance, however, between being tougher on North Korea without “exciting them” into a hostile response.

That’s a tall order. China is North Korea’s only real ally, and as their business interests grow worldwide, they are getting sick of treating North Korea with kid gloves as they get into these repeated rows with the US. At the same time, the whole problem is those rows destabilizing the region, and “handling” them has always ended up a de facto Chinese responsibility since they stand to lose the most from the destabilization on their border.

The only ones who can come close to North Korea for the bellicosity of their rhetoric are the US government and Reuters

North Korea to cut all channels with South as ‘war may break out any time’
Reclusive North Korea is to cut the last channel of communications with the South because war could break out at "any moment," it said on March 27, days of after warning the United States and South Korea of nuclear attack.

27 March, 2013

The move is the latest in a series of bellicose threats from North Korea in response to new U.N. sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test in February and to "hostile" military drills under way joining the United States and South Korea.

The North has already stopped responding to calls on the hotline to the U.S. military that supervises the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Red Cross line that has been used by the governments of both sides.

"Under the situation where a war may break out at any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a military spokesman as saying.

"There do not exist any dialogue channel and communications means between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the north and the south."

Despite the shrill rhetoric, few believe North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), will risk starting a full-out war.

North and South Korea are still technically at war anyway after their 1950-53 civil conflict ended with an armistice, not a treaty, which the North says it has since torn to pieces.

The "dialogue channel" is used on a daily basis to process South Koreans who work in the Kaesong industrial project where 123 South Korean firms employ more than 50,000 North Koreans to make household goods.

About 120 South Koreans are stationed at Kaesong at any one time on average.

It is the last remaining joint project in operation between the two Koreas after South Korea cut off most aid and trade in response to Pyongyang's shooting of a South Korean tourist and the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel blamed on the North.

Kaesong is one of North Korea's few hard currency earners, producing $2 billion a year in trade with the South, and Pyongyang is unlikely to close it except as a last resort.

The North's military spokesman representing its "supreme command" did not mention Kaesong, which has suffered temporary shutdowns before.

The South Korean government said it would take steps to ensure the safety of the workers at Kaesong. It did not elaborate.

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