Deterring provocationsThe massive ROK-U.S. joint drill in the Yellow Sea, in which the U.S. aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington participated, ended successfully yesterday. The military exercise was conducted in the wake of North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island after having been postponed for several months because of vociferous opposition from China.
The naval drill was primarily aimed at warning the North not to repeat its belligerent actions and pressuring China to deter the North from future provocations. The military exercise has achieved the crucial goal of coping effectively with further aggression by increasing the two allies’ joint defensive capability.
However, the latest drill does not appear to have taken into account a situation in which the two allies would have to respond directly to a localized provocation by the North, such as the Yeonpyeong attack.
Thus, it is urgent for our military to enhance its ability to contain the North’s aggression by ourselves.
Of course, the joint drill is deemed to have been successful in pressing North Korea not to dare to expand a skirmish into a full-fledged war. If the two allies carry out similar drills more often in the future, they will reap better results.
Undoubtedly, however, North Korea is highly likely to make more frequent large-scale provocations in the future. Thus far, it has attempted to neutralize the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea by gradually heightening the intensity of the provocation for the past two years.
In response to that, our military is quickly rolling up its sleeves to reinforce both the manpower and firepower on Yeonpyeong and Baegryeong Islands in an attempt to more fully respond to any further provocations. Such efforts will obviously thwart the North’s intention to wage an assault. But we cannot rule out the possibility that it will resort to provocations as it has done in the past because it desperately needs them to solidify its shaky internal power succession scheme.
Considering that the North Korean military has persistently employed a “hit and run” strategy aimed at the weak spots of its counterpart, it will not be easy for us to detect signs of provocation in advance and deter the aggression immediately. However, as long as our military confronts the North more resolutely, it is not an impossible job. We believe that our military has recovered its confidence through the joint drill. We urge it to do its best to never allow its counterpart to launch another provocation again.