Of course, by now, everyone’s heard of North Korea’s attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeon (since the media won’t shut up about it). The island was heavily shelled by North Korea yesterday because they said they were “provoked” by South Korea not providing enough humanitarian aid.
Here’s how I see it – North Korea is facing a moment of weakened leadership and uncertainty as the nation’s people go starving. Meanwhile, Kim Il Jong is trying to ensure his son becomes his successor. There’s a struggle going on within North Korea which is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day.
In an effort to relieve the sanctions and force South Korea (and the US) to send free humanitarian aid (which then the leadership and army in North Korea will piss away while their people still starve to death), the DPRK is determined to make themselves appear more threatening. In their eyes, stoking war talk makes them seem more aggressive and in control. North Korea wants to initiate talks where they are in a position to call all the shots. They expect China to come running to their aid if they start hostilities against South Korea. They think everyone’s going to kowtow to their nuclear tests.
Despite all the incessant chatter of one* Chinese official and the ancient-thinking experts I’ve seen on the TV lately, I don’t think North Korea holds any cards other than their secret nuclear arsenal. In reality, I think they are bluffing on all accounts. I don’t believe China wants to come to their aid any more than we want to go to war with them. I believe they are merely trying to posture because all the world’s focus has shifted from them again. North Korea will do anything to stay in the news at this point – they are running out of food, money and internal loyalty.
My advice to the administration is to starve them out and call their bluff. Let’s see if China truly wants to upset trade in their own sea because North Korea’s being nutty again. I believe that conflict on the pennisula is inevitable at some point. We just want to be in a position where North Korea is weakened by their own hubris before the bullets start flying. Giving them anything is merely asking them to continue to be asshats and show-boaters.