The U.S.-South Korea alliance is strong, stable and durable, but no matter how durable it is, we must better understand that both countries pursue their own interests.
With the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the debate over preemptive strikes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) has resurged, and it is very serious that the Trump administration’s new foreign policy and security teams have publicly discussed preemptive strikes, and thus appear to be open to using military force against North Korea.
It is still unknown whether the United States will launch a preemptive and/or preventive strike against North Korea, but this issue will be a painful challenge for South Korea and its policymakers in the next few years.
In early 2017, when Washington and Seoul agreed that the U.S.-ROK joint military exercises would involve its largest-scale military drills in years, the DPRK’s bellicose response was as expected, with the test firing of the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), Pukguksong-2, on February 12, 2017. Hardline stances in both Pyongyang and Washington could cause a crisis situation on the Korean peninsula, which, as a consequence, would poison the peace-making process on the Korean peninsula.
Preemptive and/or preventive attacks on North Korea will quickly and ultimately lead to a total war on the Korean peninsula. From the American viewpoint, the Trump administration is totally responsible for protecting the lives and assets of U.S. Forces Korea, their families, and other American citizens living in South Korea.
Hardline stances in both Pyongyang and Washington could cause a crisis situation on the Korean peninsula
In my opinion, Americans cannot accept the consequences of the U. S. strikes on North Korea. Furthermore, Koreans cannot allow the Trump administration to launch preemptive strikes on North Korea.
A preemptive strike may be allowed by international law if it were to target North Korean nuclear and missile capabilities in advance, when and if North Korea showed signs of preparing for an attack.
On the other hand, a preventive strike would be an outright violation of the UN Charter and will be severely criticized by the international community. It is highly unlikely that preventive attacks against North Korea will eliminate all of its military threats and instead a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula will be likely to occur.
I have opposed U.S. preemptive and/or preventive attacks on North Korea for a few reasons: First of all, due to the geopolitical location of the Korean peninsula in Northeast, the vital interests of the four major powers (the United States, China, Russia and Japan) have intersected. Thus, U.S. preemptive attacks on North Korea will damage the core interests of China and Russia.
Second, North Korea has now accumulated 758kg of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) to make approximately 60 bombs in addition to plutonium bombs, with short-range, IRBM and ICBM missiles. As a consequence, North Korea is a nuclear power.
Preemptive and/or preventive strikes against North Korea could cause an explosion of nuclear radiation, thereby contaminating the entire region surrounding the Korean peninsula. Since preemptive attacks on North Korea could not completely destroy its second strike capabilities, it is highly probable that it will lead to a total war on the Korean peninsula.
Third, U.S. preemptive attacks on North Korea will not force its surrender. If North Korea will strike back against South Korea and its neighbors with the second strike capabilities, there will be a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. Moreover, according to the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK, China will likely to intervene in a new Korean war.
Due to the risk of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, the ROK government should not allow the Trump administration to launch preemptive strikes on North Korea. A preemptive strike is not a rational choice.
Preemptive and/or preventive strikes against North Korea could cause an explosion of nuclear radiation
It is regrettable that recently South Korean Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers have made statements in which they appeared to support preventive strikes on North Korea. Since the preventive strikes will not resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, an inter-Korean strategic dialogue should be the first step for improving relations between the two Koreas.
The DPRK must immediately stop its bellicose behavior by freezing nuclear and missile tests. It is equally important that U.S.-ROK joint military exercises be halted or postponed.
All major powers of Northeast Asia surrounding the Korean peninsula should respect each other’s core interests, and engage in constructive dialogue and peacemaking as an alternative to using military force in the region for ensuring mutual survival and promoting co-prosperity.
Featured image: DVIDSHUB
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 791 words of this article.