March 21, 2023

Not thinking far enough ahead on N.Korea

Recent responses by both S.Korea, U.S. will most likely have unintended consequences

We are less than two months into the solar New Year – barely two weeks into the Lunar New Year – and already it has been a busy period on the Korean Peninsula. First there was North Korea’s putative hydrogen bomb detonation (its fourth nuclear test) on January 6, and second, there was its February 7 launch of a so-called earth satellite, a not-so-cleverly disguised test of an ICBM.

Knowing that some meaningful response would be required, the South Korean government (reportedly under intense pressure from the United States) shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the last utilitarian link between the two Koreas, on February 11. China is verbally supportive of expected United Nations sanctions to some degree, and of course, the Japanese have contributed by adding their own secondary sanctions.