SEOUL, March 30 (Reuters) - North Korea said on Saturday it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea in a continuing escalation of tough rhetoric against Seoul and Washington after coming under international sanctions for its nuclear test.
"From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly," a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency said. (source)
Experts on CNN were saying that what's happening is really spurred by the North Korean military not the young Kim Jong Un. They also say it's mostly for internal consumption, trying to make the new leader look strong and forceful to a society that still reveres age. Internally, he has been demoting and firing top military officers. It may be that, through him, the most hard of the hard liners in the military are consolidating their power.
The military experts on CNN said that they doubted North Korea would follow up on any of its threats against the U.S. or South Korea. In fact, they'd be crazy. Why? Because they'd lose, despite having the fourth largest army in the world. And they could hardly expect much help from China. North Korea is pretty much a drag on the Chinese economy, with North Korea needing to suck at their teat due to the fact that its economy is a total shambles.
And why would China want to see the U.S. defeated, what with the steady flow of cash from here to there due to all the American debt China owns. The U.S. is their golden goose right now.
China is so pissed off and North Korea that for the first time ever they have joined in with international sanctions against North Korea.
All that said, North Korea is making strides in terms of ballistic missile development, so they will be more of a worry in the future.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
China is an ally of North Korea only as long as they can make money off of it and have free access to it's resources for mining etc. If the North causes problems that hurts China's economy, it will not turn out well for them. It is possible that both China and the United States are ramping up to deal with the collapse of the North and maybe even helping that along with economic sanctions etc.
Never underestimate the power of money in the brutal calculus of war and/ or international relationships. Both sides are using the North as a pawn to have a proxy economic and political battle. I'm really not optimistic about the current situation since both sides are playing chicken with oversized trucks heading to collide if some better reasoning is not applied soon by one or both sides.
Although it has been damaging to our own economy (try buying something in Walmart that doesn't say, "Made in China,"), introducing impoverished China to capitalism has had an incredible effect, in terms of influencing the direction China will take in the future - ideology has taken a back seat to cold, hard cash.
I hardly think China earns anything on NK staying as is, at least not if compared to the value of the extensive trade with SK. It's not only possible, it is indeed demanded by both the US and China to prepare for the inevitable collapse of the regime in NK, and to have plans to handle it. Sanctions always have two goals, the primary is to send a political message and the other one is to harm the economy, especially that related to military capabilities. Sanctions have proven poor at inducing regime change, as evidenced by Cuba, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, though notwithstanding Myanmar.
Pure economic considerations would dictate a much stronger stance by China. I think you are forgetting about national security in your calculus, as this is what ensures timid support by China. To say that NK is used as a proxy is a bit silly, as that would entail either China or the US having some degree of impact or control over the regime, which they obviously don't.
I wouldn't be too worried about the situation as it is only a game of rhetorical brinkmanship. It would take some really massive blunders to stumble into a war nobody wants; NK knows it doesn't stand a chance, SK knows that it will be massively costly both in treasury and lives, China prefers the status quo due to national security, and the US can ill afford it and the population is war weary.
Kim Jong Un keeps ratcheting up the tension. the latest development, in his words...
"We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea) and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means of the DPRK and that the merciless operation of its revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified," a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army said in a statement carried by the English language service of the state news agency KCNA. (source)
In other news (or rather non-news), one wonders if the US government is considering the possibility that this bluster is just a diversion to cover some other—possibly equally or more serious—attack, such as an EMP strike, cyber attack, or biological weapon attack.