Following yet another nuclear test and an even more recent long-range rocket launch that put a satellite in orbit, the United States and South Korea are taking a harder line with Kim Jong-un and his “rogue” state of North Korea.
U.S., South Korea fear World War 3
ValueWalk occasionally looks at things that could once again thrust the world into an epic battle staged all over the world. We’ve looked at Russian expansion into the Arctic, China’s military exercises in the South China Sea and Taiwan Straight, Russia threatening a NATO country after Turkey shot down own of its bombers, and of course, North Korea. Well, following recent actions by North Korea, we’re going back to the Korean Peninsula where a war is already being waged, albeit, with a cease-fire in place.
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Following a recent nuclear test and an even more recent long-range rocket launch, which placed a satellite in orbit, Seoul and Washington have announced that they will hold talks on the deployment of a the sophisticated U.S. missile defense system THAAD in response to North Korea’s most recent provocations. Those talks are expected to begin as early as sometime next week.
Both the nuclear test and rocket launch are in clear violation of international law but Kim Jong-un, seemingly, just can’t help himself even if it flies in the face of his country’s only ally, China.
South Korea seems to be at their wits end and yesterday began suspending operations at the factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. The park is one of the last signs of cooperation between the two nations whose relationship has essentially been in shambles since Kim Jong-un took over North Korea following his father’s death.
South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said that the park which has been in operation since 2004 has provided North Korea with over half-a-billion dollars but the nation to the north has simply been using the money to continue with its nuclear and military ambitions.
The reaction from the North was hardly surprising with State TV calling the move a “dangerous declaration of war,” yesterday. North Korea also deported South Korean citizens, seized South Korean assets and also vowed to militarize the factory park.
Today, in response to these actions, South Korea cut off both power and water supplies to the park while announcing its plans to meet with the U.S to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.
And the World War 3 escalation?
A “simple” conventional war with North Korea would have disastrous immediate consequences. The North has one of the largest, if not the largest, standing armies in the world. A full-scale missile and artillery attack on the South would be devastating and the United States would immediately be thrust into a full scale defense of South Korea that would include all branches the military as well as direct attacks on North Korea.
Never mind the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and a clear madman leading the nation who would likely set one off rather than be deposed.
I could write half a Tom Clancy book before I even got to the neighbors. And of course we’re talking about Russia and China. We’re not talking about down the street neighbors, we’re talking about next-door neighbors with the North having a shared border with each.
A potential Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, deployment in South Korea has already seen both China and Russia voice its concern through state run media outlets and neither relish the prospect of such an advanced missile defense system that close to their backyard. While defensive in nature, remember the last time the Soviet Union put missiles in our backyard. My father tells me that he was convinced that World War 3 was imminent.
While U.S. officials have repeatedly said the THAAD deployment is designed to protect South Korea from North Korean threats and isn’t targeting China or anyone else, that will always be taken with a grain of salt.
Too many “superpowers” in one place
If aggression in the area seems at all imminent, with U.S. forces on full alert, well the Russian’s and Chinese will get more and more curious. That will mean more potential for mistaken identities on both land and sea. I mean accidents happen with that many forces in the area. This danger is of course heightened further if any true hostilities broke out in the region or, heaven forbid, the North launched a full-scale attack on South Korea.
Curiosity may very well have just killed a cat or two but World War 3 will kill a lot more than that.