North Korean Artillery Strike
The island is home to at least 1300 people and lies within the disputed territory not far south of the 38th parallel which is the established border set by the UN in 1953 when the cease fire agreements were drawn up. North and South Korea have never signed a peace treaty, so they have technically been at war with each other since 1950, when the Korean Conflict began as a UN operation. Tensions between the two have been rising lately, most recently after North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 South Korean naval personnel. North Korea denies they were involved, but the evidence was overwhelming.
No information appears to be forthcoming on China's stance in all of this. Technically these hostilities would legally enable both the South Koreans and the US to resume military action against North Korea. Unfortunately with Obama in office, any such action is highly unlikely to take place despite it being the clear and proper thing to do in response.
Kim Jong Il recently appointed his son, Kim Jong Un, as the successor to the North Korean government. Kim Jong Il has been sick with cancer (most likely) for several years and isn't likely to survive much longer. In all likelihood this latest round of hostilities is the north's way of telling the world they can still wield military power at will.
Tensions being what they are, and the world being in the mess it's in, it's entirely possible we could be bearing witness to the opening salvos of World War III. North Korea needs to be dealt with one way or the other. Let's just hope things hold together long enough for a president with a brain and a backbone to take office here in the US so we can do what's right and end their regime once and for all.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil
Well. I guess that's that then.
I don't support an invasion or war of any kind. But Mr. Kim and his entire cabinet should die. Not only do they seem to want to kill other countries they want to starve their own people of any rights of a human being.
I thats something we can at least all agree on.
Also the arms proliferation revalations. Mustn't forget those. Although I know you're all shocked to hear news that North Korea was selling stuff illicitly to Iran and Burma and whoever. Unheard of, I know.
At some point I've got to wonder when South Korea's just going to decide enough is enough. I can see various reasons why they don't, but we're well past the point where if I was the guy in charge, I'd run them the hell over.
Well, I'll certainly agree, AnImpatientFan, that it's not going to be WWIII. But if Obama (or his successor) do decide to send our troops back to Korea, I suspect it won't be the same as it was back in the 50s, we've come a long way technologically since then.
I don't know, Dallen, South Korea's president has already said that he believes today's attack was a direct violation of the 1953 Armistice and if there are any further attacks South Korea will respond emphatically. I believe we're well on our way towards reopening the original Korean War with modern technology to change things up drastically. Whether China's still supporting North Korea (or just ignoring them), I suspect that Russia's not supporting them anymore, especially against the U.S. at this point. At any rate, with the negotiations between Russia and us lately, I'd be rather surprised if Russia was willing to openly support North Korea these days. That in itself might be enough to drastically change the face of the next war in Korea.
However, the possibility of an escalating military conflict remains open. I think the South Korean's have the military might to defeat North Korea nowadays. Ideally if they do this the country should hopefully be united the proper way (i.e. without external intervention but by the will/guns of its own people) and the whole situation willl be finally brought to a close and everyone in North Korea will be able leave the poverty that their insane leaders have put them in and ultimately live better, more normal lives with Korea united.
Thats of course relying on China not getting involved. If they do...God, this is going to get messy.
I think Obama would send troops if China entered South Korea, but otherwise, he may well keep out of this conflict...which has its advantages and disadvantages.
If we really cared so much about this we could wipe them both out in minutes and there would be nothing China could do about it.
As far as the rhetoric goes, with the Cheonan the South Koreans tried the diplomatic/UN thing, and it got shot down by Russia/China (surprise!) since it was possible to not see North Korean involvement in that if you wanted to do so. This one is pretty blatant, so it's not surprising the South Koreans would ramp up the rhetoric.
Then again, considering the "North Korea can blow up Seoul" and "reintegrating North Korea will be an economic drain for 20+ years like East Germany" arguments, it's not altogether surprising that South Korea hasn't dealt with the thing already.
Too, assuming a war, I think it's pretty safe to assume, though I'm hardly an expert, that it would involve US troops given the defense treaty and close working relationship of the ROK/US militaries. Given that, I'm not sure that this is the particular sword China's going to want to fall on militarily, but I bet they give covert support. As to Russia, I bet they sit it out entirely, considering their economy, but I suppose we'd have to see.
On the other hand, it's not like there isn't a really long history of this sort of thing.
You dont think the wests embargoes have had something to do with this either?
I highly doubt that either will do anything and i will explain why. Firstly China has way too much to loose now to be drawn into something stupid that would send it back to pre-industrial times. China relies heavily on exports to the US and on imports of raw materials from the west, its people are slowly becomming more wealthy and are enjoying higher and higher standards of living. A stupid war over ideology and lets face it, NK/SK is all about ideology, China will not be a part of, its citizens would not accept actions by the government which would lead to a lowering in the standard of living, and the government would not do things that might lead to it being disposed.
At the same time, the US relies heavily on China for trade, the US economy is fucked right now, the US owes billions to China, it has 2 wars already and no money in the back to be able to fund anything further. A war between NK/Sk would ultimatly be a war between China and the US, both have too much to loose from such a think happening.
Ultimatly, this is almost a cold war situation, China will either pull NK into line or it will disown them all together, SK will do what it has always done, respond in kind when it has been provoked, NK will continue to go down the gurgler untill the people rise up and over throw the government.
For China, the options are to be the economic powerhouse they are and to continue that trend, or to become backward donkey riding hill billies like NK. I think the choice is simple.
Also, the more interconected the world becomes, the less likley an all out global war will ever happen again, countries reley on other countries for their own prosperity and wealth, and the only real threat of war comes from isolated nations, like NK, who have rejected and or by their own actions have been rejected by the international community.
They still have strong cultural ties to NK, and no doubt will come to their aid in some form if we go in there without a very clear violation of the defense treaty we have with SK.
The whole thing is a relic from the Cold War. Seal the two of them off, turn them loose, and demand they settle this little pissing match of there's once and for all. It need not involve us *OR* China if it's set up properly. Obama doesn't have the balls to even suggest it though, so it won't be happening while we're still cursed to have him as a president.
"We hope the relevant parties will contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
From: ABC Australia
It would seem that China is staying out of it all for now and recomending more peace negociations. Which supports my argument that China has too much to loose by going to war over NK stupidity.
Maybe you are just paraniod, and concider everything to be US centric.
China isn't stupid though, they won't attack us militarily unless we attack them first. I can assure you, we are well aware that 300 million screaming Chinese soldiers is nothing to laugh at. The only viable response to something like that is overwhelming air and sea power combined with tactical nuclear weapons. Guess how pissed off the world would be if we did something like that?
An economic war is not out of the question. All they need to do is call in their debt markers and we're screwed. We can't pay. They won't suffer as far as trade, they can sell their junk to everyone else instead of us.
I doubt that this will happen either, China has become much more accepted within the global community i seriously doubt that China will do anything that would jepordise the position it currently finds itself in. The economies of China and the US and Austrailia are heavily linked also, which is why this would benifit know one at all. Also its not like the current leaders of either nation have hitleresq plans for world domination, so even that as a motivator is off the cards.
NK also offers China very little other than a buffer between SK/US aliance, so it would have to be something remarkable to draw China into a conflict, it would need to have a pay off, and as far as i can see, there is no real payoff for China. All it has to gain are negatives to its manufacturing and economy.
That's why I think the real solution is to just bottle them both up and let them tear each other to pieces until they both get sick of being dicks to each other. Only then would the people in either Korea start agitating for some kind of proper unification. Only after NK gets its ass kicked will its own people develop the balls to rise up and overthrow their evil regime.
China is angry at how we're fucking up our own currency since they hold so much of our debt. They want this investment to be worth something in 2011. Knowing how the world reacts to crisis, they goad North Korea into attacking South Korea. Nothing too big, but something just large enough to spook investors, and in particular George Soros. Sure enough, after all this mess broke out, the Euro lost 3% of its value, the dollar gained 3%, and the Chinese Yuan was largely unaffected. Food for thought?
Some dude down at Andy's Burgers floated that one past me, and my cynical conspiratorial nature lapped it up. But you have to admit, it has merit if it makes China money, yes?
The Chinese government sets the price of the Yuan, not global markets.
Of all the conspiracy theories this site has put forth, this one actually sounds plausible because China is in a win win situation. However, if it deteriorated into an all out war, China and the US would be in serious lose lose. So if this was the case, it is a risky gamble to take, and the Chinese are not the types to gamble in such ways.
What is likely to be the case is Kim Jong Dill is flexing some mussel before he passes over the reigns to his son Kim Ding Dong, who they are trying to fashion into his weird assed fathers image.
However it's most likely that Kim Jong Il simply felt like starting something in order to make the world quake with fear at their awesome military might or something. What he doesn't get is that most of us just don't care unless US troops are involved.
Stealth Edit: Shit's about to get real.
I highly doubt anything is going to happen soon. NK are simply too scared to do anything else stupid. Now there's these rumours that the military now are in charge of themselves and not the Kim dynasty. Could be interesting to see what happens next.
Overall, I'm with Dwip on this one. I think Russia would sit it out entirely and China's not going to do more than covert support because they really don't want to go full scale, but it's hard to say because, as Samson pointed out already, China can be really hard to read and, while they don't seem inclined to go against the US directly, they do have certain incentives to help Korea replay the war of the 50's.
Sorry, AnImpatientFan, I don't think NK's scared of SK at all, in fact the very fact that they're essentially trying to re-instigate the war they had with them half a century or so ago sort of implies that they feel ready to go at it even though they know we'll be involved one way or another yet again.
Btw, Samson, regarding "If we really cared so much about this we could wipe them both out in minutes and there would be nothing China could do about it."... well, yeah, we could, but it's not like we're going to, and the whole world already knows that. If we were really willing to do that, we would've hit Iraq a decade ago. As for not getting involved except to contain it in a joint effort with China to not allow it to spill over to neighboring countries, also not likely to happen. It's much more likely that we'd engage NK in conventional warfare, again, but with modern weaponry instead of Agent Orange and napalm.
Fury, I will agree with one thing you said, it's most likely that Kim's flexing his muscles for his son's benefit before he hands the helm over to him, but that doesn't begin to mean that it's not an intentional prelude to a full scale return to war either. Beyond that.. As for some of your other statements, like "the Chinese are not the types to gamble in such ways" did you really think mahjongg started out as a cute little tile matching version of solitaire or that groups like the Triad Society were really made up by Hollywood? And China's hardly in a position to be reduced to "backward donkey riding hill billies like NK" by supporting a war in Korea, it didn't have that effect on us to support a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq and we're not currently nearly the "economic powerhouse" that China is.
They are not trying to get a war. They are trying to get back into talks with the US by attracting as much attention as they possibly can to themselves. Cheonan? exactly the same thing.
Its always just an attention seeking threat and never anything huge.
A new wrinkle in things. Starts to cast serious doubt on whether China cares about their investments in the dollar now. Funny, I seem to recall saying they'd simply find new trade partners. Now it seems they have, in the most unlikely of places. So goading NK into attacking SK isn't such a financially risky move after all.
(Not that this move will likely reduce the street value of the US dollar in Russia very much at all, but that's strictly black market stuff anyway. ...anyone know roughly what the going rate over there is these days for a $15 pair of Levis? Let alone more modern and fashionable stuff? )