A prominent analyst says the United States will be responsible if the state of war on the divided Korean Peninsula escalates into a world war, Press TV reports.
“The question is whether or not the United States as a superpower wants to escalate this thing to a world war that could be nuclear, or whether sensible diplomacy is going to prevail. The ball is not in the North Korean court, it’s in the US court,” said Jeff Steinberg with the Executive Intelligence Review weekly in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, North Korea announced, “As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol.”
Pyongyang also warned that any military provocation near the North-South land or sea border would lead to “a full-scale conflict and a nuclear war.”
Steinberg put the blame on Washington and the West for further fueling North Korea’s provocations, saying, “We could end this whole game but the danger is that you could escalate it into a confrontation that does get out of control.”
He added that North Korea’s bellicose statements should not be taken seriously since Pyongyang only wants to move beyond the Armistice situation, where the Korean war is still at a ceasefire point and has not yet ended.
“And if you look at the history in the Middle East of the countries that were accused of going for or having nuclear weapons but never really intended to and never got them, they were subjected to completely illegal regime change, [and] military action,” the analyst added.
On March 28, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US is “prepared to deal with any eventuality” from North Korea and that Washington takes Pyongyang’s threats very seriously.
South Korean and US forces completed an annual war game codenamed ‘Key Resolve’ on March 21, a move which drew widespread condemnation from North Korea.
The United Nations also approved a fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang following its nuclear test in February, a move that added to Pyongyang’s escalating rhetoric against Washington and Seoul.
Russia calls for ‘maximum restraint’ regarding North Korea
Russia on Saturday called for “maximum responsibility and restraint,” after North Korea declared it was in a “state of war” with South Korea and warned Seoul and Washington against any provocation.
“We expect all sides to show maximum responsibility and restraint and that no-one will cross the line after which there will be no return,” Grigory Logvinov, a Russian foreign ministry pointman on North Korea, told the Interfax news agency.
“Naturally, we cannot remain indifferent when an escalation of tensions is taking place at our eastern frontiers,” the Russian diplomat was quoted as saying. “We cannot but worry.”
Logvinov said Russia was in “constant touch” with its partners involved in six-party nuclear negotiations, wich include the two Koreas, China, the US, and Japan.
Separately, the Interfax news agency quoted a diplomatic source as praising South Korea and the United States’ positions in the stand-off with North Korea.
“The situation is, of course, very tense and dangerous but still there are some encouraging moments: the reaction from the United States and South Korea is measured and calm to a certain degree,” the source was quoted as saying.
“It is not the time to breathe fire,” the source added. “The time has come for active, non-public diplomacy aimed at searching for a political settlement within the framework of international law including the decisions of the UN Security Council which are binding in nature.”
North Korea on Saturday declared it was in a “state of war” with South Korea and warned Seoul and Washington that any provocation would swiftly escalate into an all-out nuclear conflict.
The United States said it took the announcement “seriously”, but noted it followed a familiar pattern, while South Korea largely dismissed it as an old threat dressed in new clothing.
North Korea has threatened to attack the US – what will happen next?
Kim Jong-un says missiles are poised to ‘settle accounts’, but experts say North Korea has a history of making empty threats
North Korea‘s leader, Kim Jong-un, has said his missile units are poised to “settle accounts” with the United States after the US flew two nuclear-capable stealth B-2 bombers over the Korean peninsula during military exercises.
Pyongyang has issued similar warnings on a daily basis since the UN security council toughened sanctions after the country’s third nuclear test.
Experts point out that North Korea has a long history of making threats without taking action and believe its underlying aims are to shore up domestic support and seek aid and security guarantees from Seoul and Washington.
The North is incapable of a nuclear strike on the US mainland,say experts. They do not believe it can mount a nuclear warhead on to a long-range missile and are sceptical that such a missile could reach the mainland anyway.
Experts say the North’s Soviet-era Scud missiles could hit South Korea, where the US has bases, but it is unclear whether its longer-range missiles could hit Pacific bases. In theory, targeting US forces nearby would not only be more feasible but also smarter in strategic terms, noted Adam Cathcart, an expert on the North at Queen’s University Belfast, exacerbating tensions and arguments in Japan and South Korea about how to deal with the North and the role of the US.
But he added: “I don’t see it happening, simply because of the response.”
The North knows attacking US assets would be a suicidal move, say analysts.
March 30, 2013 – NORTH KOREA – The order came after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington would not be cowed by Pyongyang’s bellicose threats and stood ready to respond to “any eventuality.” Mr. Kim directed his rocket units on standby at an overnight emergency meeting with top army commanders, hours after nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers were deployed in ongoing US joint military drills with South Korea. In the event of any “reckless” US provocation, North Korean forces should “mercilessly strike the US mainland … military bases in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” he was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). While North Korea has no proven ability to conduct such strikes, Mr. Kim said: “The time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists.” Meanwhile, Dylan Harris, director of Lupine Travel, which specializes in holidays to unusual places like Iran, Chernobyl and Siberia, received an email on Friday morning. It said US stealth bomber flights over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK) had made the situation “critical with the outbreak of war probably only hours away.” It was not clear who the email was from.
War with N. Korea would be ugly in opening hours: Prominent North Korean analysts, citing what they see as increasingly troubling signs coming from the dictatorial regime, have voiced concerns that its new young leader, Kim Jong-un, could do something ill-advised and even start a war with the US. On Friday North Korea renewed what the U.S. has condemned as its ‘bellicose rhetoric’, saying Kim had ordered the nation’s missile forces to prepare to strike the United States and South Korea. According to the Christian Science Monitor, in response to the prospect of North Korea following through on this and other marginally less dire threats, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the US military “will unequivocally defend, and is unequivocally committed to the alliance with, South Korea.” Some former US Special Operations Forces and longtime Korea defense analysts have their own thoughts on what an ‘unequivocal’ US military response could look like. That includes how US troops would be deployed in the event of a lethal first strike on US and allied military forces by North Korea – precisely the sort of move Kim has been threatening to make. Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said that should Kim choose to do “something even more outlandish,” the US military and South Korean response would be more dire. Retired Brig. General Russell Howard, former commander of the 1st Special Forces Group, which has an Asia focus, said that should Kim decide to begin firing them, he says, “in the first few hours of the conflict, it would be pretty ugly.” At the same time, North Korea could begin “swarming” its sizable contingent of 600,000 Special Operations commandos, Howard added, now the director of the Terrorism, Research, and Education Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the report added. –Zee News
North Korea: Time to ‘settle accounts,’ rockets aimed at US targets
North Korean media confirmed Kim Jong-un is preparing for an attack on its neighbour to the South and the United States, but many are questioning the seriousness of the threat. Alex Mihailovich has the details.
North Korea now says it is in ‘state of war’ with South Korea
North Korea announced Saturday that it had entered a “state of war” with South Korea and would deal with every inter-Korean issue accordingly.
“As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol,” the North said in a joint statement attributed to all government bodies and institutions.
Watch a report from NBC Nightly News on March 29, 2013 below:
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