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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 07:08:47 PM
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War games in Korean peninsula

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NORTH Korea's successful test of a hydrogen bomb on Sunday, which is also the country's sixth nuclear test, has triggered new war preparedness in the Korean peninsula. The test created 6.3 magnitude tremor in the region inviting condemnation from all over the world that included North Korea's close ally China and Russia. The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet any time now to discuss new sanctions against North Korea to stop it from further nuclearization of the peninsula. But earlier such sanctions did not work and there is hardly any hope that new sanctions will produce results unless China and Russia make sure effective implementation of such sanctions.

What worries the world is the newly acquired North Korea's capability to deliver mid-range to intercontinental ballistic missiles. Equipped with nuclear warheads it can easily hit Japan, US territory of Guam in the Pacific and even the mainland US territories adding new worries to Western defense system.  

South Korea early on Monday conducted a live-fire military exercise in response to North's latest nuclear test involving surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and F-15K fighter jets. It appears the situation may lead to military conflict any time as the US has 'warned of massive military response.' Earlier this year the USA had also sent its biggest aircraft carrier to Korean waters to stop North's nuclear missile tests. President Trump had warned of 'fire and fury' at that time to stop nuclear blackmail.   

The divided Korea is the hot bed of distrust and tension ever since the end of Second World War when USA occupation of South led to creation of two countries. Despite the fact that the post Second World War international order has accepted both the Koreas as members of the United Nations, hostility between the two continues keeping the region volatile as a constant threat to peace.  

Japanese Prime Minister now believes threat against his country is "more grave and imminent"; while South Korean President Moon Jae-in called out the new test as an "absurd strategic mistake" in the light of his pledge to open dialogue for long term reconciliation. North Korea earlier this week also fired a missile that crossed Japan over its northern region. The big question is why North is so desperate to beef up its defense. It is not clear whether it wants to build its attack capability or the capacity to defend itself.

The USA is definitely exercising restraint despite President Trump's war mongering strategy for domestic consumption. Washington knows the human cost that a military confrontation with possible use of nuclear weapons may cause in the region. In fact the entire world is in tension at the risk for breach of peace and look forward to Chinese and Russian pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclearization programme.

A war in the region is not the solution; we suggest that talks must open to remove distrust so that both sides can live in peace and use recourses for socio-economic development.

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