Causes, Consequences of Recent Tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul

2020/07/08 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online – An analyst of Asian affairs referring to the type of acting by China and the United States in the Korean Peninsula said: "Given the reluctance of the two powers to face a serious confrontation in the current situation, it is predicted that the decision taken by North Korea to suspend military action against South Korea is in line with the interests of the major actors and therefore has no significant impact on the countries concerned.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Behrouz Ayaz said Pyongyang’s decision to take military action against Seoul following the negative propaganda of South Korean human rights activists at the border point against the neighboring country was aimed at a number of goals. Preventing negative action against Pyongyang and shifting the focus of influential actors on the Korean Peninsula issue, Kim Jong-Un’s show of power and re-emergence in the scene and his show of control over foreign policy can be considered among these goals.

He added that Kim Jong-Un, after a two-week absence and in response to rumors and speculations that he would not be actively involved in foreign policy, had a good opportunity to express his seriousness and determination in his decisions and positions; So with the order to blow up the two Koreas’ liaison office for communications on the border, and then threaten military action and send troops to that point, he was trying to once again draw the attention of stakeholders to this region.

The Asian affairs expert described Pyongyang’s move in blowing up the liaison office between the two Koreas and its decision to take military action against Seoul as a violation of the 70-year-old ceasefire and the 2018 agreement between the two countries. He added that to investigate the causes of South Korea’s military threat, as well as to stop it, we need to look at North Korea’s overall strategy.

“Given North Korea’s long-term deterrence strategy, these recent moves can be seen as merely tactical, short-term, and threatening to demonstrate its power and send messages to stakeholders in the subcontinent.

Pyongyang Does Not See Military Confrontation with Seoul in Its Interests

Ayaz stressed that Pyongyang does not seem to see the deployment of troops and military confrontation with South Korea in the current context in line with its national interests.

Regarding the consequences of this decision on the relations related to the tensions between North Korea, and especially South Korea, China, the United States and the region: “The North Korean move to threaten military action against Seoul is a kind of warning and a tactical move in line with its goals,” he said. On the one hand, given that Seoul’s decisions on the peninsula are influenced by the United States and Washington does not see a solution to the Korean Peninsula problem in the short term in line with its strategy and on the other hand, a solution to the Korea crisis also depends on China, therefore a serious change in bilateral relations between the two Koreas depends on the decisions of the bigger actors.

“Given the reluctance of the two powers to confront each other seriously in the current situation, it is expected that North Korea’s decision to suspend military action against South Korea is in line with the interests of major actors and therefore has no significant impact on the countries involved and cannot be considered a significant achievement for Pyongyang.

 

North Korea Does Not Want to Give Trump a Trump Card in the Election

Although some analysts have interpreted North Korea’s move to gain concessions to improve the deteriorating economic situation under the corona virus crisis, but it seems that North Korea does not have the confidence to renegotiate due to the failed experience of previous negotiations. Pyongyang does not want to provide Trump with a trump card as an achievement in the upcoming elections in the United States; So it does not seem that such measures can be considered in the context of gaining concessions.

Predicting an Increase in North Korea’s Missile & Nuclear Activities

At the same time, he noted that given the complexity of the political and security equations governing the Korean Peninsula, more accurate forecasting and analysis will require further progress and more time; But given North Korea’s current situation and long-term deterrence strategy, it can be expected that the country will continue to pursue its missile and nuclear measures and even increase their intensity.

Ayaz stressed: “Certainly, these measures will lead to an increase in Pyongyang’s military and missile capability on the one hand, and will make it more insecure and deepen the crisis in the Peninsula on the other hand.” This is what analysts call “crisis production.”

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