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The North Korean problem stems from the Korean War that took place over 60 years ago. It was through no fault of its own that the country was split down the middle; an action carried out by the Soviet Union and the US. Liberating Korea from Imperial Japanese power after World War 2, the Soviets administered power in the North, while the Americans took the South.
They could never have known that their actions would shape global nuclear warfare for decades to come.
In recent weeks, the North has upped its rhetoric against the South in a string of “planned military actions”.
The first move was cutting a communications line between Pyongyang and Seoul that had been erected in 2018 to ease relations.
This was in reaction to hundreds of thousands of anti-Kim leaflets that had been dropped into the North from non-governmental groups in the South.
Peak aggression came when the North blew up a joint liaison office with the South located the border city of Kaesong.
Many said the efforts were intended to make wiggle room for further diplomatic concessions between the South and the US.
This was proved for several experts when, this morning, the North announced it was suspending plans for “military action” against South Korea.
In a meeting chaired by Kim, state media reported the rising tide of aggression would be suspended after the “prevailing situation” was taken into consideration.
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Loudspeakers which had only been erected last week – usually intended to blast anti-South propaganda through – were ripped down.
For the US and South alike, a sigh of relief likely followed.
The US has several scenarios and action plans in place in the event of full-blown war with North Korea.
Because of Kim’s unpredictability – his nuclear arsenal and seeming willingness to use it – the US has had to take all ways of intervention into consideration.
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One of the most controversial methods of victory over the North was floated in a letter from Admiral Michael Dumont in 2017, speaking on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to US representative Ted Lieu.
Writing in a blunt, matter of fact way, Admiral Dumont revealed how the only way to squeeze the North’s nuclear weapons programme – of which the US isn’t 100 percent certain about – would be to invade from the ground.
He wrote: “The only way to ‘locate and destroy – with complete certainty – all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs’ is through a ground invasion.”
The frankness of Admiral Dumont’s comments prove the US military was actively planning for a World War 3 eventuality at the time.
The North’s military has an enormous number of rocket launchers and artillery pieces within range of Seoul.
The unbiased Congressional Research Service estimates that Kim could hammer the South Korean capital with an astonishing 10,000 rockets per minute.
Such a feat could kill more than 300,000 South Koreans in the opening days of the conflict.
In the meantime, however, fears appear to be unnecessary.
North Korea experts have, however, drawn attention to the wording of Kim’s de-escalation.
The BBC’s Seoul correspondent, Laura Bicker, said “plans for military action have been suspended – not cancelled – so they remain a possibility.”
Yet others, like Sue Mi Terry, warn that the world should expect more action from the North.
She told the Financial Times she believed more movement would happen later in the year, especially against the US.
She said the attack on the liaison office was merely the “opening salvo”.
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