South Koreans are worried, as the United States continues to threaten the threat of military strikes on North Korea’s neighbor. Threats repeated insistently by the White House. Donald Trump said Sunday, October 22, he was ” totally ready ” for the war with Pyongyang. One option would be even ” good ” ( ” nice “), said the US president.
In 70 years of division, the Korean peninsula has already gone through many crises. The difference this time is that the danger seems to come from the United States.
Leader Kim Jong-un is not suicidal. He is not going to start a war that he is sure to lose. But he has never been so close to possessing a nuclear weapon capable of striking US territory, and this prospect is unbearable for the White House.
Donald Trump’s security advisor, General McMaster, said this week that a nuclear North Korea and a deterrence strategy – which has worked for decades during the Cold War – was ” unacceptable “.
Pyongyang refusing to give up the atom, it leaves only the military option. Several sources claim that White House strategists are increasingly leaning towards this option.
The North is often restrained as winter approaches
Specialist Andrei Lankov, based in Seoul, estimates even 20 to 30% chances of US strikes on the North, and 10 to 15% risk of North Korean reprisals large.
In sum, for a growing number of experts, the probability of a second Korean war remains low, but it has never been so high.
So, are all these bellicose statements only “psychological warfare” operations aimed at frightening the Pyongyang regime? That’s what some people say.
There is also relative calm on the North Korean side, with 40 days without missile fire. But we must not draw hasty conclusions; the North is often restrained as winter approaches.
Even limited military action could be misinterpreted
Threatening the threat of war could also be a way to scare China to force it to economically suffocate its North Korean ally. And it’s true that Beijing has never shown such goodwill in voting and putting sanctions in place.
Finally, scare the countries of the region could be a way to prepare for long-term negotiations. The problem is that this hawkish rhetoric increases the risk of escalation and miscalculation.
A US action, even limited, could be considered by Pyongyang as the beginning of a war. The regime could then retaliate by playing its all-out with large-scale attacks on Seoul and US bases in the South.
The South Koreans, who are within firing range of North Korean artillery, are experiencing these tensions without any panic. But in Seoul, there is growing concern and new attitudes.
“The accumulated tension and terror are undermining us from within“
“I started discussing evacuation plans with my parents, ” wrote columnist Koo Se-woong, in an article titled “Mr. Trump, I live in South Korea and you scare me.”
Under the ” apparent ” calm, ” the tension and terror accumulated over decades undermines us from the inside and arises intermittently during mundane conversations, ” writes novelist Han Kang, who accuses the United States of treating 50 million South Koreans as a negligible amount.
In any case, there is no indication of the imminence of a conflict, for example an evacuation of US nationals.
The US military is conducting an evacuation exercise this week of civilians living in its bases in South Korea. But she says it’s a routine exercise that takes place every year. The media interest generated is nonetheless a sign of the nervousness that surrounds it.