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October 11, 2006
Kim: Sanctions An Act Of War

Kim Jong-Il seems determined to have himself a little war, whether anyone else wants it or not. This morning, the North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that any applications of sanctions against them would result in "physical" responses:

North Korea said Wednesday it would respond with "physical" measures to counter U.S. pressure against the communist regime after its claimed nuclear test.

"If the U.S. keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The North didn't specify what the measures would be.

"We were compelled to prove that we have nuclear weapons to prevent the increasing threat of war by the U.S. and protect our sovereignty and survival," the North said, criticizing an alleged nuclear threat from Washington and sanctions. "We are ready for both dialogue and confrontation."

"Even though we conducted the nuclear test because of the U.S., we still remain committed to realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations," the ministry said.

Either this is a bluff, or Kim really has decided that the moment to go to war is now. It might seem propitious to Kim, with the US focusing on Iraq and Iran and NATO tied up in Afghanistan. The Russians have Georgia on their minds, and show no particular inclination to put the brakes on Pyongyang. The Chinese would not want a war, but they're probably not ready to expend the hundreds of thousands of troops necessary to stop one.

That leaves Japan and South Korea pretty isolated. A lot of speculation has been offered about Kim launching ICBMs at the western US, but that presumes Kim can launch a Taepodong-2 successfully, which he has never done before. However, both Japan and South Korea are in easy reach of his shorter-range missiles, and the latter also in range of massive artillery batteries ready to fire now.

It's likely that all of this is a massive bluff, intended to frighten the players into capitulation on Kim's terms. However, Kim has hardly been a rational actor up to now, and one has to consider the real possibility that he's ready to throw the dice on a regional war. He may think that he can beat the US due to a lack of resolve to respond militarily to an attack. If so, he has sorely misread the American people.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 11, 2006 5:18 AM

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» Norks Threaten War if Sanctions are pursued from Morning Coffee
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Tensions rose along the Korean Peninsula Wednesday as North Korea warned of physical retaliation for increased U.S. pressure over its reported atomic test, and South Korea discussed preparations for a nuclear attack tha... [Read More]

Tracked on October 11, 2006 7:21 AM


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