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National

December 11, 2010

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Mounting security threats in Korean peninsula

Mounting security threats in Korean peninsula

Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, is a strong advocate of the fact that, there is a shift in the centre of gravity of the world from Atlantic to the Pacific. Indeed, roots of this shifting can be traced to the end of cold war and announcement of a new world order in early 1990s.
Previously, the trans-atlantics allies remained committed against the former Soviet Union. Extended East Asia, covers the wider region of the Asia-Pacific and form almost hub of the future global economic centres, the future powerhouses, and a likely theatre of future conflicts. As the sole super power, U.S would never like its relegation from the regional politics of Asia-Pacific. It was because of this reason that US has long maintained its military presence of over 80,000 troops in Japan and approximately 36,000 troops in South Korea. These former US outposts have now taken the form of its allies. Today, technologically these countries are highly advanced, however, militarily still dependent on United States, through strategic partnership.
Over the years, instability arising out of the tense relationship between North and South Korea has marred the regional politics. Because of the presence of the US forces, North Korea felt threatened and strengthened itself militarily. It carried out two nuclear blasts and assumed to have over 10 nuclear devices. In the recent years, there have been border violations and exchange of firing between two Koreas. In March 2010, North Korean Torpedo sunk a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors.
More recently, North Korean artillery firing on front-line island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea killed four persons including two civilians and injuring another eighteen. On its part, North Korea justified its artillery barrage on the grounds that South Korea carried out battle-drills and demonstrated show of force in these disputed islands. Previously, U.S and South Korea used this location for joint naval exercises. Even after the incident, U.S and South Korea carried out a battle drill, which as per Admiral Mike Mullen reflects, “America’s commitment to South Korean’s security.”
Although, North Korean acts got worldwide condemnation, however, United States and West has been found more critical to the Chinese role, which earlier suggested the resumption of Six-Party Talks. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stressed upon Chinese leadership to play its role for ending what it called the ‘provocative and reckless’ behaviour of North Korea. United States perhaps consider Chinese location as uniquely placed and “China’s leadership has more influence in Pyongyang than any other country —, there’s no other country that’s close.”
China, however, feels that, East Asian predicaments either created by the undesired acts of North Korea or through foreign involvement in the regional politics may not be justified. Why the US cannot realise that after all North Korea is an independent and sovereign country and takes it own independent decisions. It did not take China into confidence, before testing its nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009 and betrayed Chinese confidence in creating the current fiasco. Indeed, North and South Korea are the same people, therefore should be encouraged to reunite like Germany, rather provoked to attack each other.
It is envisaged, that if the current tense situation is allowed to escalate, it may lead to a bigger conflict in the Asia-Pacific. U.S has previously tried such an option once it provoked Taiwan to declare its independence, which irked China to deploy its strategic arsenal across the Strait. Therefore, in order to ensure the global peace, US should withdraw its forces from the region, and allow regional countries to resolve their security issues themselves.
The writer is an analyst of international relations. Email: [email protected]

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