Amidst the escalating tension between US and North Korea, what is at stake for South Korea.
By Asian Review Staff
The Acting President of South Korea Hwang Kyo-ahn holding a Cabinet meeting.
tremors from North Korea of a nuclear test, the coastal country – South Korea
-- is striving to make the most of probably one of the worst scenarios having
befallen on Korean Peninsula since the Korean War. Jong Un’s government
continues to speculate of a sixth nuclear test preceding its failed test launch
of an ICBM on the founding anniversary of its military.
In this scenario, South Korea has found a
comforting partner in United States. In an official report, the Defence
Ministry of Seoul reported the North could conduct pernicious ‘strategic
provocations’ at any time. South Korea’s acting Prime Minister, Hwang KyoAhn,
has alerted its military, installing a large concentration of military hardware
amassed on both sides of the border amid concerns about a new nuclear test by
Owing to United
States – North Korea constant provocative engagement, the Korean peninsula has
turned ‘extremely perilous’. Having established a strong strategic partnership,
US-South Korea, since the Cold War, has been through phenomenal
transformations. In the past, among several issues that has beset this
partnership with troubles, is the way Pyonyang’s erratic behavior needs to be
handled. In 2007, the two countries signed a major bilateral free trade accord
and agreed to a ‘rearrangement of the military command structure’. This was
preceded by North Korea’s proclamation in 2005 that it was in possession of
nuclear weapons. During this time, China was considerably perturbed with North
Korea’s nuclear weapons, and both Seoul and Beijing made efforts to not escalate
the situation such as to invite a flood of refugees to their respective
China, as North
Korea’s largest aid provider - food and fuel – had a profound role to play in
leading US and South Korea’s efforts to succeed on De-nuclearization of North
Korea. Following the fifth nuclear test by North Korea, China and South Korea
went steps ahead to cut off significantly on their diplomatic and trade ties
with the former nation.
attack on Syria and consequent provocation has accelerated tensions emanating
from the land-locked country of North Korea. In the occasion of the failed
nuclear test, all the major stakeholders are on high alert. Recently, the US deployed
the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to curb any further inflation.
The threat was amplified by the comments of Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of
State, who said the US is looking for ways to ‘bring pressure’ on the North
Korean regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
month, Donald Trump has called for the installation of ‘armada’ into the
northwest Pacific, which later was reported to have been diverted towards
Australia. However, this was an attempt by the United States to strengthen
their case as a show of military might. China, as a primary negotiator has
emerged initially by siding with U.S and now opting for a smooth negotiation
for peace establishment. Russia, alongside, has lined its military equipment
along its border with North Korea amid rising threats of a military clash
between the United States and North Korea.
Nations Security Council, in a unanimous statement, has condoned the earlier
tests conducted by North Korea and has demanded it to ‘conduct no further
nuclear tests’. While North Korea has recently also threatened Australia of a
nuclear attack, the forthcoming weeks gets shrouded with ‘uncertainty’ and of
threat of a nuclear war. It is high time for the giant players including United
States as well as South Korea, as the country with the highest probability of
being affected should a nuclear war unfold, to engage in
diplomatic negotiations and make every possible attempt to oust the chances of
a nuclear war. More than anything, the loss of human lives and the resources
and energy wastage will put down years of developmental efforts by countries
including North Korea in the scenario of a nuclear clash.
The views expressed here are those of the author alone and not the Asia Council.