On Tuesday the news broke that North Korea had shelled a populated border island held by the South and South Korean forces made no delay in returning fire. The short exchenge of fire forced the island’s 1,600 odd residents to escape to shelters.
One eye witness was reported as saying; “I was lying down and watching TV and I heard the bang bang sound”.
“I was convinced that I would die.”
North Korea watchers in the West are appalled at this escalation of North Koreas’ war like stance.
This particularly of concern to world leaders following reports by top U.S. Scientists that North Korea’s nuclear capacity has advanced quickly since Western professionals were last authorized in to review their capability.
This most recent attack follows the shocking event recently when the north Koreans attacked and sunk a South Korean vessel. On 20 May 2010, the South Korean government announced that it had firm evidence that a DPRK torpedo attack was the cause. Experts are conducting an investigation into the sinking with the assistance of experts from the US, UK, Sweden and Australia.
North Korea is poverty stricken under Kim Jong Il, just as they were under his father. In contrast, South Korea and Japan have made impressive progress toward their own goals. One big conern is that otehr nations in the region may start to develop nuclear capability to defend themselves against North Korea, and according to one senior Japanese diplomat, Japan’s foremost goal in all of this is not necessarily nuclear nonproliferation but national security or the defense of Japan.
National and international security organisation have publicized their condemnation toward this action by North Korea.
Japan is growing more jumpy about North Korea’s intentions by the day, as they might be a target.
South Korea, too, is increasingly bored with their northwards neighbor’s nuclear foolishness, having lately elected a new president who campaigned on getting tough with Pyongyang. Japan is not very likely to develop its own nuclear forces. As the only folks to fall prey to atomic attack, the Japanese have powerful cultural reasons to fight nuclear weapons.
Japan and South Korea are the likeliest targets of North Korea’s threats to take “physical measures” against the US, whether those measures are standard or nuclear. And then there’s the concern that North Korea might sell its weapons to nations unsympathetic to the U.S.
On a more positive note though, China has a natural interest in the steadiness of North Korea, being its neighbour to the northeast, for its own welfare so it supports it economically and politically.
In spite of a big Russian Federation consulate in Pyongyang, relations with Russia are not thought to be anywhere near as robust as they were with the old Russian Federation.
It is to be hoped that the Chinese or Russians will make their views felt on Kim Jong Il, but just because they’d be mad if the nuts in the North caused an emergency which hurt trade.
Kim Jong-un himself is presented as technically very clever, and he allegedly spent one or two years at a Swiss boarding college. Kim Jong-il ends up on the front pages of the planet’s papers only when he makes nuclear threats, or stages attacks as he has done more recently.
It would be hard to exaggerate the concerns about the possible results of these contemporary events.