For decades, regimes in North Korea have incorporated a formula of military posturing and unabashed rhetoric in their dealings with the 'West' — that's nothing new.
But leader Kim Jong-un has seemingly taken it up a notch.Over the past several weeks, as explained by Reuters, the new Kim has "threatened a nuclear strike on the United States, missile strikes on its Pacific bases and war with South Korea."
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Interestingly, no one seems to be taking him seriously.
International affairs experts tell Yahoo! Canada News that the current regime's recent actions are nothing but theatre and posturing.
"A young and untested Kim Jong-un is trying to consolidate his legitimacy both externally but especially internally," Christian Leuprecht of the Royal Military College told Yahoo! Canada News.
"Looking tough is his way of doing so, and because he's an unknown commodity, including to folks in North Korea, he's looking to assert himself by appearing "tougher" than his father and grandfather. Their ultimate objective is likely to angle for a peace deal with the West. Personally, I think the best thing to do is what you'd do with any schoolyard bully and ignore them."
But what if he's not bluffing?
Could Canada be involved in a new Korean war?
According to a November 2010 Canadian Press article, Canada could be obligated to defend South Korea's interests because of its history.
Because Canada was one of the combatants in the Korean War, it became part of an organization known as the United Nations Command - or UNC - following the 1953 armistice that ended three years of war between North and South Korea.A briefing note, obtained by CP and prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, says the UNC could be used to "generate an international fighting force if war erupts in the region."
Canada was one 16 countries that took part in fighting the Korean War and all signed the July 27, 1953, armistice that paused three years of hostilities. North and South Korea have remained technically at war since then, but the armistice has been supervised by a UN military commission along the 243-kilometre long Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.
[ Related: U.N. chief urges talks in North Korea crisis ]
International affairs expert Dr. Lasha Tchantouridzé, however, doesn't think that will be necessary.
"The US and South Korea will manage on their own – North’s People’s Army would probably last about 3 weeks," Tchantouridzé, formerly of the University of Manitoba's Centre for Defence and Security Studies, told Yahoo! in an email exchange.
"There will be forceful diplomatic efforts from China and Russia (both countries share borders with North Korea and are its main sponsors and allies) the war to remain local, not to allow its internationalization, and to end it quickly.
"However, a sudden attack on the South would produce a lot of destruction and casualties — large urban areas of the South are located rather close to the 38th parallel line — and this will trigger world’s reaction. A new war on the Korean peninsula would trigger a word-wide diplomatic activity, which would be followed by humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. I would expect Canada to participate diplomatically as well as to engage in the post-war reconstruction efforts."
(Photo courtesy of Reuters)