Saturday, April 6, 2013

EXPERT: High Likelihood of North Korean Attack !

North Korea expert Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee from The Fletcher School of of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, says current tensions with North Korea are so high that they are likely to result in some kind of attack or bombing, possibly within the week. Dr Lee ( photo) is the Kim Loo Korea Foundation professor in Korean Studies at Tufts and holds a PhD from the Fletcher School. He is also a Research Fellow with the National Asia Research Program and an associate in research with the Harvard University's Korea Institute. Dr Lee has written extensively on North Korea and is a frequent media commentator of Korean affairs.

Tensions grew further early in the week when North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un presided over a Central Committee meeting which set a ''new strategic line'' calling for building both a stronger economy and a nuclear arsenal.  According to a statement issued after the meeting, North Korea's ''Nuclear armed forces represent the nation's life, which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth.''  The next day the military issued a warning that ''The Great Leader has given us permission to start hostilities when we see fit!''  The day before the United States sent B-2 Stealth bomber jets to to fly over northern South Korea as a harbinger of military exercises with South Korea to be held this month. At the same time South Korean leaders said they will respond to any new provocations.

Lee cautions that the recent bluster is unusual even by North Korean standards. He said that the North's many threats -- including wiping out an inhabited South Korean island -- are not mere rhetoric. Lee believes that the escalation in threats may be boxing in the Korean leader. According to Lee, if North Korea does not act on these threats soon, Kim may lose ''face'' in the eyes of his military and the world at large. Dr Lee says he believes the Stealth bomber flights could have had a pragmatic and utilitarian affect in instilling fear and doubt among North Korean leadership about engaging in military provocations. Lee said, ''The B-2 flights may be effective pressure to discourage North Korean officials from going berserk.!  However, he has now told foreign embassies that he could vouch for their employees safety.''

Dr Lee added, ''The West has pursued wishful thinking concerning negotiations with North Korea and on prospects for its new leader.''  He said Kim is treated as  near God by the North Korean people and is one of the richest men on earth with dozens of mansions, a one-million man military and now nuclear weapons.....''Why would he give this all up?''  Lee elaborated; ''It is a mistake to believe the fact that Kim lived in Switzerland as a boy means he will be more open to change and cooperation with the world.''  Lee has been very critical of U.S. Korea policies and cited Congressman Ed Royce who said the U.S.s policy towards North Korea over the last 20 years has been a bipartisan failure. Lee states that the U.S. must take North Korea seriously. To date, Pyongyang thinks it has had the advantage and believes it has been able to control and tame not just the United States but also Russia, China, Japan and South Korea.

Dr Lee explains that North Korea is riddled with problems and has major vulnerabilities. He stresses that the U.S., with the United Nations, must exploit these vulnerabilities by cracking down on the revenue it earns through illicit activities, including counterfeiting, drug trafficking and selling missile technology. He called for targeted financial sanctions against North Korea, including restoring those sanctions foolishly suspended by the Bush administration. Lee is very worried about what Kim Jong-Un may do in the near future....possibly on April 15th, to commenmorate his grandfather's birthday.  He sees a potential for some kind of limited attack, possibly detonating a shipping container full of explosives some where in South Korea or with his missiles now in position on the east coast, send them on flights to the island of Guam or over Japan.

The Way I See It....North Korea will conduct such an attack to pressure Washington and Seoul to ease the sanctions, resume negotiations with it and practice damage control diplomacy. Dr Lee says North Korea knows how to play ''brinksmanship'' very well and as a dictatorship that does not answer to its people, it has an advantage over democratic governments. Lee said North Korea probably believes the end result of the current conflict will be the United States and South Korea returning to the bargaining table in two or three months as ''toothless tigers'' with blandishments and rewards for the North.  Dream On...little slanty-eyed, pudgy, fat-cheeked boy!

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