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Lax attitude despite N.Korea`s latest saber-rattling

Posted March. 09, 2013 01:20,   


North Korea is stepping up its provocative rhetoric by the day. The North`s supreme military command, the Foreign Ministry, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and the Rodong Shinmun, the official daily of the ruling North Korean Workers` Party, have issued ferocious threats such as starting a second Korean War, turning Seoul and Washington into a “sea of fire,” and exercising its “right to a nuclear pre-emptive strike,” the abolition of the inter-Korean non-aggression agreement, and putting on stand-by a “missile mounted with a nuclear warhead.” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a visit to frontline islets in the Yellow Sea that the military units stationed there were “fully ready to fight a Korean-style, all-out war.”

The North’s Mu and Jangjae islets are just 11 kilometers away from the South’s frontline island of Yeonpyeong, which Pyongyang shelled in 2010. Mu served as the origin of the artillery fire that hit Yeonpyeong. Kim was quoted by North Korean media as saying the shelling of Yeonpyeong was the North`s “most satisfying” engagement since the 1953 armistice agreement that halted the Korean War was signed, ordering his troops to “weed out enemy positions.” In an unusual move, the North`s media said Kim inspected the defense units on the islets at dawn Thursday. Apparently, Pyongyang stressed that its threats were not just empty rhetoric by announcing that Kim visited the islets just before the United Nations Security Council adopted new sanctions on the North. This is nothing less than a crisis situation in that the North is running amok in preparing for an armed provocation under Kim’s command.

Pyongyang has repeatedly committed provocations, faced international sanctions, and confronted them with further provocations. The Security Council`s adoption of Resolution 2094 has been caused by the North’s long-range rocket launch and third nuclear test despite global warnings.

Concrete signs of a looming provocation have appeared. North Korea is set to hold large-scale firing exercises near Wonsan, Gangwon Province next week, while preparing to conduct a nationwide mobile exercise for personnel and weapons. The artillery units of the North Korean Army’s 4th Corps located close to the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean sea border, are said to have significantly increased mock firing drills aimed at Seoul and its vicinity.

In a joint commissioning ceremony for graduating military cadets Friday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said, “Our national security situation is very grave.” A spokesman of the Defense Ministry warned, saying, "If North Korea provokes a nuclear war, it will be dissipated on earth by the will of South Korea and humankind." Yet the country`s response is too carefree. The Park administration held its first security review meeting Friday but all who attended were vice minister-level officials. Despite the security crisis, the chief of the new National Security Office and the foreign and national security ministers have yet to be appointed. Though President Park and the National Assembly say the security situation is grave, they continue to neglect the foreign and national security control tower. Seven members of the parliamentary standing committee on culture, sports, tourism and broadcast communications went to Europe, as if the situation was none of their businesses.