Of Course You Know This Means War: North Korean Edition

North Korea has launched a short-range anti-ship missile into the sea and announced that is no longer bound by the 56 year old armistice that suspended the Korean War:

May 27 (Bloomberg) — North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.

An effective interdiction program would certainly put a damper on any plans the North might have as an international nuclear weapons dealer. What is really necessary to make the program effective is China’s participation.

North Korea is playing a balancing act. If it’s too aggressive it will lose Chinese support and Chinese support is life support for the current North Korean regime. Not aggressive enough and it will be ignored.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    If it’s too aggressive it will lose Chinese support and Chinese support is life support for the current North Korean regime. Not aggressive enough and it will be ignored.

    Which makes me wonder why the sudden change to being more aggressive. Is this just more of the DPRK trying to stay internationally relevant, or are they losing Chinese support anyway and therefore have less to lose? Obviously re-igniting the Korean War would mean the end of the DPRK, so I would only expect them to take that course of action when they feel that the end is coming either way.

    Also, both this article and your next are tagged “James Joyner”.

  2. steve says:

    China and Japan are key here. South Korea has not wanted us to attack the North. They also do not want Japan to re-arm on a large scale. I suspect we ned to let japan re-arm or at least make it known we will do so if China does not pull N. Korea back.

    I think the right thing to do is call them and interdict those ships. I just don’t know if we can do what needs to be done with so many troops tied up in Iraq.

    Steve

  3. GM says:

    This is some bizarre behavior. I’m wondering if the increase of North Korea’s rhetoric has anything to do with Chinese military modernization/ confidence. I guess the assumption is that China would always have their back.

    If the North did attack the South, I would imagine that the retaliation would only move say 50 miles north, to remove any kind of threat from rockets and artillery and to build a defense zone. There would be incursions into military, space, and nuclear facilities for verification and destruction. Would China even care? China would probably invade to counter and then act in a ‘peacekeeper’ role.

    That being said, I hope Pres Obama puts more troops and equipment on the ground now. This is a very uneasy situation.

  4. TheBad says:

    That being said, I hope Pres Obama puts more troops and equipment on the ground now. This is a very uneasy situation.
    Posted by GM | May 27, 2009 | 04:17 pm

    That is the last thing we would want to do. You apparently have no concept of the situation at the DMZ. The last thing we want to do is have a couple hundred thousand of our troops wiped out in the first 24 hours of a conflict with NK. That is way during the Bush years we drew down a lot of our troops there. It was suicide to have them on the ground there. If we fight NK in a war it needs to start from the sea and air. NK has so much artillery and G-G missiles aim at the south. The last time I read an estimate on deaths in Seoul along in the first 24 hours was about 2 million, and that was a long time ago, the numbers are probably at least twice that now.

    You want to worry Lil Kim, then pull the family’s and the last of our troops out of there. This still doesn’t help the people of SK. Lil Kim has the people of SK as his hostage and he knows it. It has been that way for a long time now, since before Reagan. Way do you think no one has done anything about NK before. We can wipe out NK military if we have to, but the cost to SK is so high.