North Korea scrutinised again

Tuesday morning’s surprise bombardment of South Korean island Yeonpyeong by North Korea has drawn worldwide attention and heavy criticism. South Korea responded in kind after which its government leaders met in an underground war room to deliberate their response in case of increased attacks. Civilians were seen fleeing and two South Korean marines were killed. North Korea cites the reason for their shocking bombardment as a response to the South’s military drills in the area while South Korea says that it offered no provocation. Speculations are rife that North Korean leader Kim Jong II’s son is keen to flaunt his military prowess after being named heir-apparent, and hence this unexpected attack.

Whichever way one chooses to look at it and whichever side one chooses to believe, there is cause for concern in a region that has been a hotbed of confrontation and uneasy peace since 1953. The Korean War may have ended in 1953 but with the presence of some 28,000 US troops in South Korea, Japanese support for the South and North Korea having built nuclear weapons to counter its neighbour’s nuclear umbrella agreement with the US, peace exists on very fragile terms.The Korean divide is a great human tragedy; families have been separated and traditions have been fractured. It is the regimes on both sides that are inherently different from each other with North Korea staying true to its communist roots and South Korea being uplifted by the US as a capitalism-following polar opposite.lthough the western media is biased in its view of North Korea, when seen objectively this attack could very well be a cry for attention by a land isolated for too long by sanctions and international disapproval because it chose not to abandon its ideology after 1991. The US has always pushed any holdouts of socialism into a tight corner from where they have been forced to their knees. North Korea is having none of it.The region will remain volatile until peace keeps walking on eggshells in and around the Korean peninsula. This incident has illustrated just how important a proper resolution to the Korean issue has become. The answer does not lie in isolating North Korea but in engaging it and its people in talks aimed at encouraging both sides to abandon their hostility – Dailytimes