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Two years after N. Korea’s DMZ provocation

Posted August. 05, 2017 07:17,   

Updated August. 05, 2017 07:37


Friday marks the second anniversary of North Korea’s provocation at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Due to the explosion of a landmine in the DMZ on the South Korean side on August 4, 2015, two noncommissioned officers were hurt in blast, causing leg and ankle injuries. North Korea’s sneaky cross-over of the Military Demarcation Line and plantation of the mine led to an imminent military confrontation between two Koreas. Before the start of the joint military Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill between South Korea and U.S. in the late August, the South Korean military is staying vigilant at any possibility of North Korea’s provocative actions on the Korean Peninsula.

After a series of launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea is still warning of additional provocations. Against strong sanctions and warnings of military actions from Washington, North Korea threatens the U.S. with “unexpected gift packages.” South Korean government officials worry that North Korea would engage in a fresh military provocation on the Korean Peninsula in order to intensify the military tension at its highest level before the joint military drill takes place as Pyongyang has repeatedly requested for a halt of the joint military exercise. In particular, as the isolated regime bluntly denied its involvement in the DMZ mine explosion incident even in the presence of clear evidence, the North Korean government would implement its provocation plan secretly and hit back that it is a set-up.

Furthermore, North Korea is expected to expedite its nuclear and missile provocations to U.S. and the international community before it celebrates the foundation of the Workers' Party of North Korea on September 9 as it conducted its 5th nuclear test on the same day last year. Marking the party’s foundation, North Korea would engage in a large-scale promotion about its capability to minimize and diversify its nuclear warheads through the sixth nuclear test. Another scenario is that North Korea would showcase its prowess in a surreptitious nuclear attack with its submarine-launched ballistic missile.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does not hesitate to indulge in extremely provocative activities along with North Korea’s nuclear and missile development schedules. The international community has failed to cease North Korea’s provocations. According to the recent North Korea’s economic growth forecast by the Bank of Korea, North Korea’s real GDP increased 3.9 percent in 2016, which was the highest growth in 17 years. One of the contributing factors was that Kim allowed a use of the market economy system at its local markets called Jangmadang, helping support the private marketplace. 

It seems highly likely that Kim’s reckless and groundless provocation will continue through early September, leading to a prolonged confrontational atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula. Defense Minister Song Young-moo visited the ROK-US Combined Forces Command for the first time since his appointment on Friday and said, “You need to be thoroughly prepared to North Korea’s provocation and you should be committed to the Ulchi drill.” Before promotion and transfer of leadership personnel that will take place soon, the military seems to be disturbed. However, as the last bastion to protect safety of people, the military should stay fully operational. The security leadership, including National Security Council, should be seamlessly prepared in order to prevent North Korea from ignoring defense capability of the new, liberal South Korean government.