North’s miscalculationNorth Korea continues to pose a military threat to the South. On Saturday, the North objected tothe remarks made by General Kim Tae-young in the National Assembly, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
When asked, “How will you cope with the nuclear threat in the event that the North attacks the South with nuclear weapons?”, General Kim replied, “We will attack the nuclear base to interrupt the nuclear assault.” He explained the general concept of military measures in response to virtual questions. However, North Korea regarded it as “a violent remark regarding a pre-emptive strike against the North,” also demanding the South retract the words and extend public apologies. They warned, “We will prevent South Korean officials from entering North Korea, if the South fails to do so.”
The North’s intention is unquestionable, which can be understood in the same context as its missile tests earlier last week. In addition, the North presented its peaceful gesture to the U.S. by inviting the New York Philharmonic, while putting the relationship with the South at a deadlock. The North’s tactic, however, is still a little bit shaky. Most South Koreans have already learned valuable lessons through the 10-years of a North Korea policy of engagement. People no longer take confidence in the idea that “if we soothe and expand our aid to the North, the relationship between the South and the North will become stable in the end.” The birth of the Lee Myung-bak government was mainly due to people’s strong desire that such misguided North Korean policies should be overhauled across the board.
However, the North does not realize the meaning in the drastic changes of the South Korean side, only resorting to narrow-minded tactics of threatening the South. In this regard, we are concerned about the North’s behavior of late.
The same can be true of the political situations surrounding the North. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, paid a visit to the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang early this month. We understand that he had strong intentions to facilitate smooth relations with China. China is putting all its strength on successfully hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What would the North expect to do by heightening the tension on the Korean Peninsula? It is evident that the North will fail to improve the mutual relationship with the U.S. As such, the North should bear in mind that its strategies of threatening the South have intrinsic limitations.