Is War a Prospect with North Korea in 2018?

As Kim Jong Un continues to make threats against the U.S., while also deploying missile tests, the United Nations has made a last stitch effort to punish North Korea.

The new U.N. sanctions that were introduced in September are expected to make a significant impact starting in next March.

“In addition to further toughened sanctions, an increase in North Korea’s investment in conventional forces in the aftermath of military pressure stemming from the (Korean) deployment of American strategic assets is forecast to hit the North Korean economy seriously sometime after March next year,” according to The Institute for National Security Strategy, a South Korean research team, as reported by Yonhap News Agency. “March has been pinned for the timing for the [United Nations Security Sanction] Resolution 2375 adopted in September to take effect, given the U.N. sanctions committee’s position that the effects of sanctions begin to be seen six to twelve months after their introduction.”

The U.N. approved sanctions to banned North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids, the organization also agreed to introduce caps on crude oil imports.

Other world powers have threatened to introduce their own strict sanctions separate from the U.N. ones if North Korea continues to build its nuclear program.

Although North Korea has slowed down in terms of the number missile tests, there have been more long-range missile tested. This means that the country is closer to building a nuclear arsenal that could reach the U.S.

China has offered limited assistance to halt North Korea’s aggressive behavior and doesn’t approve of military action.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Monday that “peacefully resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation represents the consistent position of the Chinese government.”

But, Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang believes China needs to be ready for war in the Korean peninsula.

“China should be psychologically prepared for a potential Korean war, and the Northeast China regions should be mobilized for that,” said Wang over the weekend, according to The Global Times. “Such mobilization is not to launch a war, but for defensive purposes.”

Both China and Russia have been doing drills in preparation.

“The main target of the joint drills between China and Russia is the U.S., which has both ballistic and cruise missiles that could pose a real threat to both Beijing and Moscow,” said Song to the South China Morning Post on Sunday. “Both China and Russia wanted to use these joint anti-missile drills for strategic deterrence. They want to push the U.S. to withdraw its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) from the Korean peninsula.”

Even with Trump’s remarks warning North Korea to reframe from making more threats to the U.S. because they will be met with “fire and fury,” the country continues to send threatening messages through state-owned news outlets.

“The right to preemptive attack is not exclusive to the U.S. The U.S. should cool-headedly face up to the reality that the iron-willed DPRK’s preemptive nuclear attack against provocateurs is just not hot air,” wrote North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday.

Author’s note: There may be no other choice except to engage militarily with North Korea. The Seoul Winter Olympics are set for February, so likely military action won’t be taken before. If we get to this point, the key will be to keep the thousands of rockets that North Korea has at the border from destroying Seoul, a city with almost 10 million in population.

Editor’s note: From an investment standpoint, a war would certainly make investment in Asia more risky.  Interruptions in productivity in South Korea would be almost a certainly.

About Kerry Lear

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