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article imageOp-Ed: North Korea threatens all out war

By Eileen Kersey     Mar 8, 2013 in Politics
Friday Kim Jong-Un threatens to scrap all peace pacts with South Korea after the United Nations imposed tough new sanctions on the country. In a fast paced week North Korea has threatened a preemptive strike against the US and appears ripe for war.
The UN sanctions, aim to curtail the country's nuclear and missile program and include financial restraints and a crackdown on attempts to ship and receive banned cargo.
Kim Jong-Un became the Supreme Leader of North Korea after his father Kim Jong-il died in 2011. Early in January Kim Jong-Un celebrated his 30th birthday and he has been busy since then, some would say warmongering. Assessing what is going on is difficult, as North Korea and the West play a blame game and attempt to bluff each other.
China's stance on the current shenanigans though is telling. Russia and China have supported North Korea and remained allies throughout years of alienation from the rest of the world. The tide has now turned. Both Russia and China agreed to UN sanctions following North Korea's February test of a miniaturized nuclear weapon that may fit on a long-range missile.
Kim Jong-Un was born into a dynasty. The role of supreme leader of North Korea was Kim's destiny. As the country's leader he lives an isolated existence. Thirty is a young age to hold such a powerful position as leader of North Korea but he is only one man. Kim will rely heavily on his advisors and elder statesmen. That is, he will unless he is a tyrannical despot with a streak of madness.
Who is pulling Kim's strings, we wonder, or is he acting independently?
As the propaganda war hots up the North Korean state media agency KCNA have released footage and images of Kim and his "adoring" people. They were, some will say of course, only troops. The supreme leader visited troops close to the border with the south.
Many people in North Korea live a tough existence in poverty. Whether that is due to the country's regime or years of economic sanctions against North Korea is debatable.
According to Sky News, "The news agency KCNA said he talked of "all-out war" during the visit - and quoted him as telling troops to "make the first gunfire" in response to any attack. He said the slightest provocation would result in his immediate order for a "great advance" along the frontline, the agency reported".
South Korea will now feel extremely vulnerable.
In the early fifties the UN backed Korean war lasted three years. Other countries such as the UK supported the US mission. The reality is the war never ended. Instead a brokered truce, an armistice agreement, came into force.
Two million Koreans were killed in the war and the border between the south and the north became a heavily fortified area.
There has been fresh trouble brewing for some time. In 2009, when the south announced it was joining a U.S.-led anti-proliferation plan, the north reacted by angrily announcing that its military would no longer be bound by the armistice agreement.
Threatening to dismantle the agreement has become a common threat. Make no mistake though, this is not a tale such as the boy who cried wolf. There is every possibility that Kim Jong-Un's bluff could lead to deadly action.
Western leaders now have to decide if Kim Jong-Un is still bluffing or if he is ready to act.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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