U.S. MOVES 3 RD AIRCRAFT CARRIER OFF SOUTH KOREAN COAST AND PREPARES FOR MORE DRILLS
DEC 29 2010
The US is reportedly worried that its joint-military drills with Seoul and the recent threat of war by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the North could lead to problematic situation in the peninsula.
According to The Washington Post, although several U.S. officials defended Seoul's plans, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman James Cartwright worried that the artillery drills could set off a "chain reaction," in which U.S. and South Korean forces might "lose control of the escalation."
Some political analysts in Seoul and Washington now predict that Lee will soon face pressure from the United States to reengage diplomatically with the North.
"It makes no sense to think we've seen the last of North Korea's provocations. So now you have North Korea driven to additional provocations and Lee Myung-bak driven to respond more forcefully even if it leads to conflict. When you have that situation, you're much more likely to have a miscalculation," Bruce Klingner, a former North Korea CIA analyst and current researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said.
Yesterday, Lee had threatened to retaliate against North Korea if it attacked his country again, adding that his nation would not shy away from defending itself against the North, even if it meant the possibility of war.
"We have now been awakened to the realization that war can be prevented and peace assured only when such provocations are met with a strong response," he said.
Responding to Lee's threats, North Korea said later that it has limited restraint over Seoul's military provocation and it will punish the south if it does not stop its drills.
Tensions have remained high on the Korean Peninsula since a North Korean artillery barrage of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island last month, which killed four people, including two civilians.
Later the South had held a series of military drills apparently intended to show the North that it was ready to strike back forcefully if provoked again.
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