Escalation In Korea

Today’s CNS News posted an article today about the shelling of an island near the disputed sea border between North and South Korea. 

According to the article:

“The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations and a small civilian population.”

There is a lot going on here other than the shelling of the island. 

NPR reported yesterday:

“”We walked over to the window and that’s where we were stunned, because we saw row after row after row of centrifuges.”

“So says Robert Carlin, one of three Stanford University scientists who reported over the weekend about what they said is a “modern, small industrial-scale uranium enrichment facility with 2,000 centrifuges” at Yongbyon, North Korea.”

This is part of a much larger picture.  There are a few things to look at here when hearing news of the attack on South Korea by North Korea.  First of all, North Korea is not able to feed its starving population.  Their only export is weapons.  The money gained from weapons sales is their only hope for sustaining a viable economy.  North Korea is in the process of a leadership transition.  Kim Jong-il is probably dying and will be replaced by 26-year old Kim Jong-Un.  I have no idea how happy the people of North Korea are with the leadership change. 

Also keep in mind that North Korea is essentially a puppet state of China.  Regardless of the fact that America is a major trading partner of China, the government of China does not wish us well.  China is also closely aligned with Iran.  Any disruption by North Korea tends to take the focus of Americans off Iran’s nuclear program and allows Iran to move forward under less scrutiny. 

There is also a history of North Korea making aggressive moves during the American holiday season.  I am not sure what this latest provocation is about, but how the Obama Administration handles it is important.  Weakness will create more aggressive behavior from North Korea and too much strength will create a war situation.  This requires a very deft political hand.

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