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Seoul must sternly counter Pyongyang’s airborne protest but avoid skirmish

Seoul must sternly counter Pyongyang’s airborne protest but avoid skirmish

Posted October. 08, 2022 07:39,   

Updated October. 08, 2022 07:39


North Korea is boldly intensifying its provocations, elevating military tension. The North fired a mix of two ballistic missiles in the morning on Thursday before staging a show of air protest through formation flight with 12 bombers and fighter jets and conducting artillery drills in the afternoon. The South Korean military urgently sortied more than 30 fighter jets to counter the provocation. At the same time, South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, as well as South Korea and the U.S., conducted joint military drills involving a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier in the East Sea.

The North’s airborne protest is quite unusual. Pyongyang’s conducting of a bombing drill by mobilizing its aged aircraft despite the shortage of aviation fuel is an unprecedented new form of provocation. In the face of joint drills by Seoul and Washington and by Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo in response to Pyongyang’s provocations and the allies’ deployment of strategic assets, Pyongyang is apparently determined to go all the way to use every measure at its disposal and continue acts of threats and provocations against the allied forces. If this situation continues, it will only be a matter of time for the North to fire long-range missiles threatening the U.S. mainland and conduct a seventh nuclear test.

Such a situation of tension is graver now than five years ago when the Korean Peninsula was at risk of imminent warfare. International sanctions and the measure of pressure to suppress Pyongyang’s desire are not functioning and operational, while Russia, which possesses the most significant quantity of nuclear weapons worldwide, is threatening to use nuclear weapons immediately. By taking advantage of the aggressive mood of this new Cold War era, the North is confident that China and Russia are endorsing the Pyongyang regime.

Meanwhile, the three allies, namely South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, are solidifying the joint defense system to counter the North’s threat, which is effectively transforming the Korean Peninsula into the frontier of the duel between North Korea, China, and Russia versus South Korea, the U.S., and Japan.

The most worrisome of all is the possibility for the North to cross the red line and stage a local provocation. Pyongyang could spark an exchange of fires within the demilitarized zone or fire artillery ammunition across the military demarcation line or the northern limit line. Notably, there is a strong chance that the North intentionally causes a skirmish or uses a sly plot to eventually back out. The South should thoroughly prepare itself and counter the North’s reckless provocations sternly and decisively to crush the North’s desire for provocations.

In addition, the South Korean government and military authority should display capabilities to respond calmly and manage crises to prevent an accidental skirmish from intensifying into an outbreak of warfare. The current situation of confrontation will unlikely end any time soon. The South should keep a close watch on the North’s subsequent acts of provocations and respond sternly and decisively to disempower Pyongyang and completely deplete its resources. “Peace through power” is not bragging of power but long-term warfare that should be based on thorough preparedness.