The shared border is a small office building on the demilitarized zone where leaders can cross the border with immunity to conduct talks. It’s also a symbol of each side’s willingness to sit down and talk.
“This surge in provocative rhetoric is particularly dangerous,” Michael Auslin of the American Enterprise Institute told CNN‘s Jethro Mullen. “South Korea’s new president (Park Geun Hye) can’t be seen to back down in the face of the North’s threats, while Kim Jong Un may feel that his successful missile and nuclear tests give him the ability to keep pressuring Seoul. The two may wind up talking themselves into conflict.”
Analysts say that the North is furious over new harsh sanctions, signed in the U.N. yesterday, and supported even by North Korea’s ally, China. The sanctions take aim at cash transfers, luxury items, financial institutions and technology acquisitions that may aid weapons development.
The first set of sanctions against North Korea, following their rocket launch last year, took aim at food aid from the U.S. Withholding U.S. food aid from the country could lead to 3 million deaths by starvation, according to the U.N.
But the latest set of sanctions have evidently ruffled feathers of North Korea’s leaders,, eliciting a litany of harsh rhetoric.
North and South Korea have exchanged a large number of incidents, some resulting in deaths, since the armistice was signed by both countries in 1953 — and this one in particular was easy to see coming, some analysts say.
As noted by CNN’s Jethro Mullen, research from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies showed that Pyongyang has carried out “a military provocation of some form within weeks of every South Korean presidential inauguration dating back to 1992.”
The dictator also threatened “thermonuclear war” against America, which the U.S. quickly dismissed, saying the North didn’t seem capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Other reports said that if the North could deliver one, they would be able to at least hit two of America’s allies, South Korea and Japan.
Were that to happen, the international community would undoubtedly respond with reciprocal actions.