'If South Korea retaliates, it would lead to all-out war' - Metro US

‘If South Korea retaliates, it would lead to all-out war’

Forget Afghanistan – soon U.S. soldiers may be needed in Seoul.

On Tuesday, North Korea attacked South Korea, killing two soldiers and wounding 15. The attack followed North Korea’s vow last week not to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Is a nuclear war imminent? Metro spoke with Han Park, Professor of International Affairs, University of Georgia and a world-leading expert on North Korean politics.

Why did North Korea fire at the South Korean soldiers?
North Korea’s actions strongly suggest that the status quo on the Korean peninsula isn’t acceptable to the North. South Korea is booming and just hosted the G20 summit, while North Korea is starving. The provocations are designed to draw international attention. I thought of calling North Korean diplomats, but decided against it because they don’t know anything. This was a military decision.

What will happen now?
South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak has suggested that South Korea should retaliate, but doing it is obviously a different thing. If South Korea retaliates, it would lead to all-out war.

How should the international community respond?
Continuing sanctions and condemnations of North Korea doesn’t work. And unlike 20 years ago, today North Korea has nuclear weapons. It has the ability to completely destroy the Earth. The international community should hold talks with North Korea. That’s what enemies do.

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