Hong Kong June 24, (TNS): But it hasn’t reached the brink yet, and that’s likely because US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and their respective advisers are aware of the immense cost of the Korean War, which started 67 years ago Sunday.
“If this goes to a military solution, it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said at a news conference last month.
If the conflict reignited, it could be even more cataclysmic this time around with the specter of nuclear
While the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula could escalate quickly, there are a handful of scenarios that could play out, ranging from something as calamitous as nuclear strike to small-scale artillery attacks that do not devolve into all-out war, which happened in 2010.
“Part of the difficulty of discussing something like this is there’s a wide range of possible contingencies that vary widely in terms of the outlook in terms of how damaging they are,” Mount said. “The challenge is to try to control escalation.”
The biggest danger is in densely-populated cities, places like Seoul (urban area population around 9.7 million) or Tokyo (urban area population around 38 million).ion).
“Combat in another Korean War would take place in Seoul’s crowded suburbs. While our war planners estimated that US and South Korean forces would contain the North Korean advance north of Seoul, the price of defense would be heavy,” Ash Carter and William Perry, two former US defense secretaries, wrote in a 2002 op-ed in the Washington Post.
“Thousands of US troops and tens of thousands of South Korean troops would be killed, and millions of refugees would crowd the highways. North Korean losses would be even higher. The intensity of combat would be greater than any the world has witnessed since the last Korean War,” the op-ed said.
“Because of their unique properties, these expensive, stealthy platforms would form the backbone of any anti-nuclear operations,” it said.
“The US Navy (with enough time to prepare) can surreptitiously park two of its four Ohio-class cruise missile submarines off the North Korean coast,” according to Stratfor. “When combined with destroyers and cruisers from the 7th Fleet already in the area, the United States could use more than 600 cruise missiles for the mission.”
“Younger generations that did not personally experience the Korean War and the initial division of the peninsula do not see the imperative for unification, particularly during an economic downturn,” said Kuyoun Chung, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification.
Opinion polls conducted ahead of South Korea’s recent presidential election found that most voters were worried about jobs and the economy more than the country’s relationship with the north.
“The result of a North Korean regime collapse would be catastrophic and may trigger a dangerous race between China and the US-ROK (Republic of Korea) forces attempting to secure strategic and symbolic locations such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility and Pyongyang,” Andrew Injoo Park and Kongdan Oh wrote for the National Bureau of Asian Research.
Beijing values Pyongyang as a strategic buffer between itself and US-allied South Korea. If North Korea were to fall, it could lead to a US-allied unified Korea, with US troops right o