The sabre-rattling and hardline talk of a possible World War 3 has intensified between North Korea and South Korea in recent days. The United States, in a show of solidarity with Japan and South Korea, presented a show of force this week by sending two B-1B strategic nuclear bombers to the southern part of the Korean peninsula. The tandem flight, along with a couple of Japanese defense force aircraft, was made in response to a nuclear test conducted by North Korea earlier in the month. The rise in tensions in the area has precipitated led to China offering hopeful conciliatory remarks while North and South Korea talk about the possibility of a nuclear war.
Reuters reported earlier in the week that North Korea has warned of the potential for World War 3, stating that “any sanction, provocation, and pressure” could lead to a nuclear exchange that could ultimately end in “final destruction.” The words came as a response to the United States sending two B-1B bombers in a flyover of Osan Air Base, which is 48 miles (77 kilometers) from the Demilitarised Zone that South Korea shares as a border with North Korea. The two aircraft took off from Guam and were escorted by two Japan Air Self-Defense Force jets prior entering South Korean airspace, where South Korean fighters took over the escort.
The United States has also publicly called for increased economic sanctions against North Korea since the Asian nation announced last week that it had successfully detonated its fifth — and most powerful to date — nuclear weapon. CNN reported that North Korea’s state-run media claimed that the weapon could provide, if mounted on ballistic missiles, “a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.”
The nuclear test was conducted just a couple weeks after North Korea fired off a missile in the direction of Japan from a submarine in the Pacific Ocean, according to USA Today.
Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said the bombers were a show of solidarity between South Korea, Japan, and the United States against “North Korea’s provocative and destabilizing actions.”
Pyongyang, through its state-run KCNA news agency, stated, “Any sanction, provocation and pressure cannot ruin our status as a nuclear state and evil political and military provocations will only result in a flood of reckless nuclear attacks that will bring a final destruction.”
The United States has led a concerted effort of the world’s nations, including Russia and China (the latter of which is North Korea’s closest ally), to attempt to bring North Korea into negotiations to denuclearize, but thus far has been rebuffed. U.S. envoy Sung Kim stated, according to Reuters, that it was the intent of the U.S. to “secure the strongest possible (U.N. Security Council) resolution that includes new sanctions as quickly as possible” against North Korea for its latest act of defiance. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a comprehensive nuclear test ban agreement in September of 1996.
China is currently urging all sides to show some restraint.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, speaking at a daily briefing, said, “If there is a vicious cycle of tensions continuing to rise and mutual provocations, this is not in anyone’s interests.”
North Korea only went as far as threatening to destroy all of the United States’ military bases in Asia in July, claiming that, according to UPI, the U.S. and Japan had engaged in a “criminal joint nuclear attack training exercise” when it supposed spotted B52 Stratofortress bombers near South Korea in June. Officials in Pyongyang had also vociferously opposed plans for an installation of an anti-missile defense system south of the Demilitarized Zone.
But threatening World War 3 rhetoric has been used by North Korea before on several occasions. The latest came during the joint military exercises conducted by the U.S. and South Korea in August. As Fox News recounted, Pyongyang threatened to make Seoul and Washington, D.C., “a heap of ashes through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike” if there was even a hint of aggression towards the north.
President Barack Obama dismissively told CBS News (per The Telegraph) in August that the U.S. “could, of course, destroy North Korea with our arsenals,” but pointed out the humanitarian costs of such a move. He went on to note that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was “irresponsible” and “erratic,” further destabilizing the region with his military maneuverings.
The Korean peninsula is one of several areas in the world, as was reported by the Inquisitr, that experts see as having the potential for worrisome events to spiral out of control and subsequently pull the world into a multinational conflict. Having a cache of nuclear weapons, North Korea also has the potential to generate an actual World War 3 scenario, wherein a limited or major exchange of said weapons might conceivably be employed by the militaries of one or more parties.
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