Over the past week, North Korea made headlines on all of South Korea’s newspapers with repeated violent threats of “pre-emptive nuclear strike.” DPRK claimed that the 60 year-old armistice agreement that ended the Korea War in 1953 has become invalidated due to new UN sanctions, and the two Koreas have entered a “state of war.”
Usually, when South Koreans read these types of news, they barely stop to give a second thought or to reflect on what it really means to them. But this time, the atmosphere in Korea is a bit more serious. Some still consider the threats merely as bluff, others are worried about the gravity of the bellicose rhetoric made by North Korea. The older generations are much more concerned about the security issues than the younger generations who are much desensitized about the tension on the Korean peninsula. A spokeswoman at the South Korea’s Ministry of Unification reported “Overall, there’s a heightened sense of alert this time”.
13,000 U.S. and South Korean forces are scheduled to have joint military exercises this month while North Korea is starting with its own large-scale military drill this week.
DPRK has yet to make a direct rhetorical condemnation of the new Seoul administration of President Park Geun-Hye, but the South Korean government is still sending out strong language to its citizens. Park Geun-Hye has vowed to strongly act against any provocation. This tough stance is to avoid any type of initial attack by the North. However, some are worried that such hard-lined stance may lead to an escalation of events far more unmanageable and destructive.
China, which has the closest diplomatic relation with the North, is strongly advocating for dialogue and diplomatic negotiation that could lead to an opportunity of negotiation settlement.