August 22, 2015


There's Rising Potential for a Tactical Military Clash on the Korean Peninsula (Bruce Klingner, August 20, 2015, Daily Signal)

North Korea has increased artillery and anti-aircraft training along the DMZ, including practicing "rolling out artillery cannons from bunkers to aim at South Korean posts."

Seoul resumed the broadcasts after North Korean soldiers infiltrated and planted a landmine that maimed two South Korean soldiers. South Korea also responded to the landmine attack by changing its military rules of engagement for infiltrations by eliminating the requirement to provide shouted warnings and warning shots prior to directly firing upon the enemy.

Previously, in response to two North Korea naval attacks in 2010, Seoul similarly loosened its maritime rules of engagement by removing restrictions on returning fire. At that time, South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff warned that it would respond to a North Korean attack by "forcefully and decisively striking not only the point of origin of provocation and its supporting forces but also its command leadership."

South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo vowed last week to expand the broadcasts "to full-scale" and indicated Seoul is also considering resuming balloon flights of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea. In October 2014, the two Koreas exchanged machine gun fire across the DMZ after the North attempted to shoot down propaganda balloons.

Less constrained South Korean rules of engagement, combined with President Park Geun-hye's exhortation to the military to deal "sternly" to any North Korean provocation raises the potential for a military clash along the DMZ or the West Sea.

The incident occurred during the annual U.S.-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise which always elicits North Korean threats of military attack.

Pyongyang has often claimed that allied military exercises--such as those currently underway--are provocations that justify North Korean attacks. 

The US has stepped in to help the other peoples of the Axis of Evil, but we leave the North Koreans abandoned to the predations of their regime. It's long past time to decapitate the DPRK.

Posted by at August 22, 2015 7:10 AM

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