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How to cool down the temperature in the Korean Peninsula
The North Korea recently withdrew from 1953 Armistice agreement which ended Korean War, saying it is in a 'state of war' with the South Korea. It is threatening the US with nuclear strikes, and has very recently vowed to restart nuclear reactor in Nyongbyon, which could produce fissile materials.

It has earlier stopped South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong joint industrial complex near the Paju border. Now it has declared withdrawal of its 50,000 strong workforce from the complex. It appears that the North is shooting on its own foot. On 7th of April, 2013 there were numerous news stories emanating from the South Korea that the North was planning to conduct another nuclear test on 8th of April, but the South clarified that it did not detect any unusual activities at the nuclear-weapon testing site in the North.  

Suicidal North Korea, daydreaming! Right? No! First consider what the famous Indian author Nirad C Chaudhuri says in his not-so-famous book, titled, “Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse” published by Oxford University Press in 1997.

“Everyone has noticed that if a human baby is given anything it puts in its mouth or throws it on the floor. In the first gesture it is rehearsing eating, which is man’s first requirement for living; the second is for a means, which is also needed for his survival. No human being can cope with a wild animal in a hand-to-hand fight; he must if he is to beat the predator be able to attack it from a distance by throwing some lethal object at it. So man first threw the palaeolithic coup de poing at his enemy; then came the spear; then the bow and arrow; after that firearm.”

“The latest development in this effort to the end of World War 1 was the long-range German gun which bombarded Paris from a distance of 75 miles. Now, the baby only recapitulates the first state of evolution, which has created space satellite and rocket. So the ambitious and many-sided effort is reduced to its simplest, which is man’s survival against his animal rivals.’   

The fact is that there is no definite defined predator and prey in this game. There is no aggressor and aggrieved either. The North is militarily nuclear-potent and poses a threat to the South. The South is economically very strong and has the military backing of the US. The threat of attacking the South and the US by the North is a way to enhance its cash-crop and avail itself in the nuclear market inspired mostly by Iran’s hot pursuit of nuclear weapons. By maintaining the high profile on military matters the North is telling that it would ‘never’ abandon communism neither nuclear weapons nor reunify with the South Korea. The North is also telling that it would not go the Arab way and also its actions help politics getting stabilized in China.

The North’s threat of opening up the Yongbyon facility is just like ‘selling the same horse twice’ as former US defense Secretary Robert Gates has said. In fact, it is like selling the same horse multiple times. Most of the North Korean threats are hollow and the South Korea has changed. The South would take bull by its horns instead of getting threatened and thereafter offering some economic concessions.

The fact is that Kim Jong-un is targeting his public more than doing anything else. He by making uncompromising and irreversible stand is inducing nationalism by asceticism. This is his local reply to consumerism induced nationalism. The North firmly believes that the level of sanctions has saturated and extending them would imply hitting below the belly which the West may not try. Moreover, China is not going to desert the North as it could affect it badly; the humanitarian catastrophe along its border with North Korea and inflaming internal dissent with increasing demand for change.

Meanwhile, the Federal government has cancelled the testing of a new ICBM for the time being to ease tensions in Korean Peninsula and to avoid any misperception. The UK foreign secretary William Hague has also toned down attack on North Korean leader Mr. Kim even though he blames the North of ‘paranoid rhetoric’. The fact is that the North would not have tried to attack the South in real time. Thinking about attacking US forces based in the region and attacking Guam Island in the Pacific Ocean is equivalent to self-destruction for the North Korea invited by its own actions. The fact is that Mr. Kim has raised the war-hysteria to that level where he cannot scale down on his own. The US and the UK are trying to lower down the war-mongering but the real efforts must come from the South.

It should tell the North that should it not further provoke the South by conducting the nuclear and missile tests, it in short-to-middle term would not talk about de-nuclearization of Korean Peninsula. The North must abandon and fully reverse its stand towards the South as the jaw-jaw could lead to the war-war situation in the region. If not altered the situation in the region could lead to psychological paralysis where both the sides would find it difficult to address each other. It could also affect the Sino-American relationship as well. If the North Korea comes to normalcy while dealing with the external world, does not ask foreign diplomats to leave and reopen Kaesong joint industrial complex, then the South Korea should request easing some of the UN-imposed sanctions on the North. It should continue providing humanitarian assistance to the North and restore those if it has halted any.

This is golden opportunity for China to intervene positively in the region and persuade North Korea to conform to global demands and integrate with the rest of the world by eating its words. But public posturing may be avoided. China together with Russian Federation can abandon its oft-stated policy of not intervening in others’ affairs. As China provides electricity, fuel and food to the North Korea, it has a huge leverage vis-à-vis its neighbor. China should not think about containing and limiting the American influence through North Korea and should state its explicit public disapproval of North’s illicit nuclear weapon program. But the aims of China and the US would not align in short-to-middle term because of the crisis as many observers believe. The South on its part should abandon any talk about reunification of Korean Peninsula at this moment of time.

What Mr. Kim wants to say is that the South’s capital and technology is welcome provided it comes without any pre-condition. If that be the official version of the North then the South should start dialogue with its half-brother without any precondition including about restoring the Armistice Agreement which ended Korean War in 1953.

Let Mr. Kim renegotiate everything from scratch provided he stands for peace. The South should not dream about scoring any ideological victory over its neighbor. The North would and should remain communist, and it would repel the reunification attempts. It would not abandon its nuclear weapons for the time being. On its part, the West should never accept the North Korea’s nuclear weapons and should tell Mr. Kim firmly that he cannot cash the war-hysteria to his advantage.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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