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November 29, 2010
Is the Korean penninsula on a hair trigger?
Something appears to have fundamentally changed with this last North Korean outrage. The South is letting it be known through several channels that they are through playing games and that the next time the North sees fit to provoke them, Kim and his regime might get themselves into a war:
South Korea will abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North's hostile acts, President Lee Myung-bak said, following the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people, two of them civilians.It won't take much to spark a major conflict. It is in this atmosphere that misunderstandings and miscalculations can bring on a war - even if such is not desired by either side. China, which may be more impotent when it comes to affecting North Korean policy than anyone believes, would do well to exert themselves and sit on lunatic Kim, making sure he doesn't do anything rash.
"In the past, North Korea has provoked us on many occasions, but this is the first time they have made a direct attack on South Korean soil," said Lee, making his first public remarks since the Nov. 23 attack on civilian-inhabited Yeonpyeong island heightened fears of an all-out conflict. "Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime."
Whether the North's attack had more to do with internal politics in that country than any tactical or strategic move doesn't matter now. The two Koreas are balanced on the knife's edge of war with neither side willing to step back from the brink.