North vs. South Korea: How Bad Could a War Get?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, May 29, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    North vs. South Korea: How Bad Could a War Get?


    “As we enter the summer of 2010,” writes Austin Bay, “the risk of all-out war on the Korean peninsula is quite high, and possibly the highest it has been since the armistice was signed in 1953.”

    The good news: It’s unlikely that North Korea has enough gasoline to fight for more than a few days.

    The bad news: they could really mess up the South in less time than that.

    The worse news: nobody knows what would happen after the inevitable North Korean collapse, but everybody knows that nobody could afford it.

    The downright scary news: even a wildly unspectacular North Korean invasion would serve as a test of our CINC’s mettle — a test we can’t be certain he’d pass.

    Let’s go through these points one at a time.

    The Good News

    An army, Napoleon said, travels on its stomach. But a modern army travels on POL: petroleum, oil, lubricants. It’s doubtful Pyongyang has enough POL to grease their tanks much further south than midtown Seoul. Also, an army needs lots of ammo and tons of spares. How many new tank tracks do you think the North has been able to beg, borrow, buy, or steal in the last 20 years? Answer: not many. And ammo needs to be replaced every couple of decades — even bullets have a shelf life. The situation for aircraft is even more critical, so it’s a good guess that the North’s air force is in even worse shape than the army. The DPRK navy can still pack some punch, as we learned last month, but sneak attacks don’t guarantee victory — just ask Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

    Another bit of good news is that China is giving North Korea some small diplomatic cover over the sinking of the Cheonan. That might not seem like a good thing at first blush, but as long as China maintains influence over the DPRK, the odds of war are reduced.

    The Bad News

    North Korea has special forces up the Pyongyang. This tiny, starving, impoverished nation has tens of thousands of special forces — and they have a reputation for being tough, skilled, and deadly. They’re also expected to swarm the South’s airports and seaports and do a pretty savage job of knocking them out of service. They also might have a pretty easy time of blending into the civilian population (or even disguise themselves as ROK soldiers) and continuing to wreak havoc until found and killed, one by one.

    Another bit you should know. Seoul is in range of thousands of DPRK artillery tubes and missiles — many of which are in hard-to-bomb mountain hideaways. It would take hundreds of aircraft sorties, and an untold amount of counter-battery fire, before Seoul would be safe again — and the damage could take years to repair. An unprovoked attack at pre-dawn could serve up death and destruction unseen in any major city since World War II.

    And I’m not even factoring in the possibility of the North kicking off the festivities with a nuke, because I like to sleep at night.

    The Worse News

    Yes, there’s worse news. Now, I’ve written about a North Korean collapse pretty extensively, and going back seven years. If you don’t want to go through the archives, just know this: it would be the biggest humanitarian crisis since The Flood, only with loose nuclear materials.

    The Downright Scary News

    So, yes, North Korea could seriously mess up the South, after which the North would cease to exist as an independent nation. And I believe that China would move to intervene in the DPRK long before ROK or U.S. troops (technically, UN troops) could get through the DMZ. Then what’s so downright scary?

    It’s almost certain that the South could handle the North without much in the way of American help — and a Chinese coup de grace would certainly bring hostilities to a quick end. (Let’s assume that China would find it much more beneficial this time around to stop a Korean War than to enlist in one.) But: if President Obama did anything less than to order a full and immediate reinforcement of South Korea — on land, sea, and air — our other enemies and rivals would read much into such inaction. They might read too much into it, but they would read it just the same.

    More importantly — most especially — is the message our allies would receive: that America is no longer a reliable ally.

    Turkey has already de facto left NATO, in favor of rising Persian power. Obama has personally handed Israel its hat and coat, and shoved it towards the door. Britain has been insulted, India snubbed, and the French ignored. It wouldn’t take much more to see what remains of our alliances blown apart. In fact, it wouldn’t take anything more than the slightest wobble in dealing with a Second Korean War.

    And as this administration continues to do little or nothing as “the risk of all-out war” reaches historical highs, the signal being sent is most un-American.

    “Tread on Me.”
     
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  3. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

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    DPRK, RoK war will see a hefty causality in the korean penisula. I wish there is no war there.
    Leave it all alone. The major gainer from this war would be the China. Already investors are in a mood to dis-invest from the Korea, so obviously they will move to the China.
     
  4. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    The major gainer from this war would be the China. Already investors are in a mood to dis-invest from the Korea, so obviously they will move to the China.

    ++++++++++++++++
    China will be a gainer??? think about below
    * the US' strong military presence in SK
    * China + Russia behind NK
    * China has a Treaty of Mutual Assistance with NK. China will be forced to make a hard decision like in the last Korean War in direct confrontation against the US!! despite now China is a 'partner' of both Koreas.
    * a large Korean minority (millions) in China. and more refugees to flood in!!!

    There will be no war. What's going on now is a psychological warfare, or a prelude to a bigger 'trade-off'
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    South korea learns from india's dossier diplomacy after 26/11 now calls for talks with north korea over cheonan sinking=heheh

    South Korea dials back tough talk over Cheonan sinking

    One day after China refused to take a stand against North Korea over the March 26 sinking of South Korea's naval ship, Cheonan, South Korea appears to be moderating its rhetoric against the North over the sinkingSeoul
    South Korea tempered its tough talk Monday with signs of a desire to cool down tensions with North Korea before they boil over into fresh outbreaks of violence with unpredictable consequences.
    The relatively low-key response comes just one day after China refused to take a stand against North Korea over the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean naval vessel.

    First, South Korea's Defense Ministry said it was putting off a propaganda campaign of balloon drops and mega-loudspeaker broadcasts into North Korea that the North had said it would answer by firing into the speakers. Then South Korea's Unification Ministry indicated the government was carefully modulating its responses to the Cheonan sinking in order to test the North Korean response.

    “We should decide policy considering various considerations,” was the highly ambivalent reply of the vice unification minister, Um Jong-sik, when asked why the government had decided to delay a propaganda blitz that was certain to invite outrage from the North.

    Kaesong economic complex to remain open

    Just as significant was the sense that neither North nor South Korea want to shut down the economic complex at Kaesong, just above the line about 40 miles north of Seoul, where more than 100 South Korean factories employ more than 40,000 North Korean workers. The complex remains the last point of normal contact between the two Koreas since President Lee Myung-bak shut down all inter-Korean trade and financial dealings with North Korea on May 24 in retaliation for the sinking of the Cheonan, in which 46 sailors died.

    Mr. Um said the government “would maintain the Kaesong complex right now” when asked about the comment of a North Korean official quoted as saying the North would “continue efforts to move the Kaesong industrial complex forward.”

    South Korean officials glossed over concerns that several hundred South Korean technicians and managers in the complex could be held as hostages in Kaesong in the event of more North-South clashes.

    “We should guarantee safety to South Koreans,” said Um. “That’s our top priority.” The danger, however, has clearly not reached a level high enough for the government to advise South Koreans to leave the complex.

    Choi Boh Seon, director-general for inter-Korean cooperation at the Unification Ministry, was reassured by reports from Pyongyang. North Korea wants “inter-Korean economic cooperation,” he said, “and will make an effort to build up the complex.”

    War drills
    Tensions toward North Korea appeared to have decreased somewhat even as US and South Korean military officers planned for military war games and several thousand South Korean troops staged an exercise south of the demilitarized zone that has divided the Korean peninsula since the Korean War ended in July 1953. Defense officials insisted the exercise, involving about 50 tanks supported by helicopters and artillery, was routine, previously scheduled, and had nothing to do with current standoff.One major factor in South Korea’s slow movement toward a more moderate position appeared to have been talks on Sunday among the prime ministers of South Korea, China, and Japan.

    The China factor

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao avoided any expression of support for South Korea but made clear China’s desire for thwarting any moves toward a second Korean War.

    Mr. Wen promised “proactive efforts for closer communication” among all those involved in the Korean peninsula and would deal with the Cheonan issue “in a direction that promotes peace and stability of the Northeast Asian region.”

    Those comments were wide of the goal set by South Korea and the US for persuading China to join in statements of condemnation of North Korea.

    South Korea on May 20 released the results of an international investigation that showed that a North Korean midget submarine had fired the torpedo that tore the Cheonan in two parts and sank it within a minute or two in disputed waters in the Yellow Sea.

    Nonetheless, President Lee gave every appearance of welcoming Wen’s remarks. He and the Japanese prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, who offered unreserved support for the results of the investigation, appeared smilingly in photographs with Wen as the conference wound up Sunday on the island of Jeju, off the southern end of the Korean peninsula.

    At the Unification Ministry, Mr. Um repeated South Korean demands for a North Korean “apology” and “punishment” for those who ordered the attack.

    Um appeared undeterred when reminded how unlikely it seems for North Korea ever to go along with such demands. “We should make abnormal inter-Korean relations normal,” he said. “We are in the process. The possibility might be 50-50.”

    Mr. Choi offered one substantive reason for hope.

    He said South Korean factory managers at the economic complex had told him the North Koreans were working harder.

    “They are more committed to their work,’” he said. “That’s because they want to maintain this industrial complex.”
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    There will probably be no war over this, but if there is it will be a proxy war between USA and China. With USA supporting S. Korea and China supporting N.Korea.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    pakistan and north korea two headaches china has created for usa by supplying them nukes and missile tech.another one in making is iran through pakistan.Usa will be totally bamboozled when Myanmar too becomes nuke power.already there are news of Myanmar is trying to acquire nukes through china and north korea.
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China has played a brilliant game of keeping USA bogged down by using client states. This game has helped China in many ways get to the point it is today. USA can only complain about the client states but the Chinese angle is not even discussed since USA can do very little at this point being debtors to China.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    usa is playing along but then cant win.only thing is that it will be usa client state like japan and south korea will suffer from chinese client states but not the usa.china knows this well.usa will protect its interests and will dump its client state according to its own convenience like it does with pakistan so frequently like used condom. That will left japan and south korea alarmed.Right now Japan is moving towards china mending it ties.even south korea is on verge of doing the same.More the usa plays the double game with its so called allies sooner it will find itself retreating from east pacific and indian ocean. Brzezinski thinks that usa is great player of his grand chessboard thats why he immediately suggested G-2.....and china poured cold waters on G-2 on obama's last china visit.china is not in mood to share power but to snatch it from usa.....Interesting time ahead....Time has come for usa to vacate the field peacefully otherwise there will be another period of blood -letting when uk was forced to leave its superpower status to usa and ussr after world war-2 and see what they did while leaving..partition and blood-letting in indian subcontinent and also in the middle-east.
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    USA's influence in Asia is becoming less and less. A month from now SCO will begin their expansion
    and India and Pakistan will be the first 2 to join. Even client states like Pakistan have played the game
    well against USA. Milking USA delivering nothing and the joining SCO for regional support from the
    bigger powers. India is improving relations with the other countries in the region China,Iran and even
    resolving some water issues with Pakistan.The world is starting to turn away from US influence the
    plan is to milk USA then do what we want as Pakistan has demonstrated. But with this diminishing
    influence nations like South Korea and Japan are also starting to question their alliances with USA,
    many nations are starting to focus on their own domestic security as this shift in power takes place.
     
    ahmedsid likes this.
  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    There would be NO war. US takes on directly only those who it thinks will not be able to harm its interests badly. Iraq is an example. NK is another thing. It has the power to harm US interests in Japan and SK. If at all there is a war, one can be rest assured that the mad man in pyongyang will target japan and the US troops there. The US always knew there was no WMD threat from iraq so it attacked, but knows that the NKs have had nukes for quite some time even before they tested and the means to deliver them. The US had more than enough reasons to do an iraq on NK long back but chose the "negotiations" route instead. Just shows when there is a credible counter, the US will not get into a fight directly. It sure doesn't mind using proxies like it did during the cold war.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Well its again the return of multi-polar world.Powers will be loosely in relationship rather than being allied like those of cold war games.Even in SCO there will be suspicion between the member countries due to histrionics of past enmities. so countries will keep contacts in multilateral groups.Now europe and UK are spent forces the breaking of NATO will be the last nail in the coffin of superpowerdom of the usa.Another important alliance to watch is Germanic-Russo alliance.this alliance if formed can be a nightmare to any other alliance and force to reckon with.
     
  13. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    SCO is an important development regardless of the mistrust issues, never in Asia has a platform been devised for the big powers to discuss regional issues.
     
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    I've my doubts about SCO coz of indian govt's recent backpedaling around it.India is joining SCO only sake of just being member as India is in commonwealth.
     
  15. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    joining SCO will make oil deals easier for India, it will also keep India neutral as far world order goes, not leaning to far in any one direction.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  16. nandu

    nandu Senior Member Senior Member

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    North Korean Submarine Helmsman Breaks 14-Year Silence

    [​IMG]
    Lee Kwang Soo, being interviewed exclusively by The Daily NK


    Lee Kwang Soo is now 46. He is also the sole captured crew member from a Sango class submarine which ran aground on a South Korean beach during an espionage mission in September, 1996, triggering a lengthy manhunt in which a large number of people, both South and North Korean, died. After his arrest, Lee settled down in South Korea, receiving a Master’s degree from Kyungnam University in 2005. He has not made a single appearance in the South Korean domestic or international media for almost 14 years.

    However, incredulous at the fact that suspicions keep arising in South Korea about the Cheonan investigation findings even after the presentation of clear evidence, and troubled by claims made by the National Defense Commission on May 28th that the Cheonan incident was a fabrication, Lee decided to break his silence in an interview with The Daily NK.

    For security reasons, he met The Daily NK secretly in a Seoul hotel on May 31st. There, he offered his expert opinion, based on his service to the North Korean navy and what is now known as the General Bureau of Reconnaissance.

    First, we discussed the submarines that Lee saw in his time in North Korea. “I have seen 130-ton Yeoneo class submarines several times,” he explained, refuting the North Korean claim to possessing no such vessels. “I received helmsman training for submarines from Romeo class down to midget subs; the Yeoneo class sub is a modified version of the Yugo class.”

    “Yugo class submarines have a torpedo tube, but the Yeoneo class does not. Yeoneo class subs have a medium-sized torpedo fitted to both sides and are launched by applying an electrical charge.”

    "The 4th Naval Squadron on Mayang Island, South Hamkyung Province, has a repairs center for submarines,” he continued. “When you enter the place, it feels like the home of North Korean submarines. Submarines are repaired according to the size of the problem: major, medium and minor repairs. In that place, I saw submarines from 130-tons up to Romeo class."

    According to Lee, North Korea categorizes submarines as large, medium, small and midget. A 130-ton vessel, he explained, is categorized as a small submarine, not a midget submarine, which is how it is categorized by the South Korean navy.

    While he has never heard of North Korea preparing a catalogue to export either torpedoes or submarines, Lee says he did see some Cubans visit a submarine and hovercraft manufacturing plant next to Shinpo Dockyard in South Hamkyung Province, which he says is disguised as Bongdae boiler factory. When Lee asked the site personnel about the visitors, he was apparently told, “They are here to purchase submarines.”

    Lee also said he heard about human torpedo units, explaining, "They belong to the sea sniper brigades of the East Sea and West Sea fleets. Each fleet has one suicide unit. They travel on the submarine in the beginning but, from a certain point they ride on the torpedo and direct it to its target. Torpedo carriers are told that they can escape, however, in reality it is very difficult."

    Next, Lee categorically rejected another National Defense Commission claim, that which relates to the capabilities of these small submarines and their torpedoes. “North Korea’s assertion that a 130-ton submarine cannot carry a 1.7-ton torpedo in a ‘C’ formation to attack and then retreat is false,” he said bluntly.

    He explained, “For a 130-ton submarine to penetrate the West Sea by sailing alone through the East Sea and to return; that is impossible. However, if it travels with a command vessel disguised as a trawler, then even that is not difficult. If the command vessel enters West Sea coastal waters then deploys the submarine, it will be challenging for South Korea to spot. As the announcement of the joint investigation team suggested, North Korea must have disguised a vessel as a regular fishing boat then entered the coastal waters around Baengnyeong Island in order to launch the submarine.

    Lee added that when he was in North Korea, he saw just such a command ship. Such vessels are stripped down to be able to hold small and midget submarines, he explained.

    North Korea has a “command ship-subordinate ship” unit run by the General Bureau of Reconnaissance at Sepo-ri, Rakwon, South Hamkyung Province, he said. When Lee went there, he said he saw a complete camouflaged command ship built by North Korea, however, he heard it had technical problems and never saw it completed as he was dispatched to South Korea soon after in September, 1996.

    Based on this knowledge, Lee had a hunch as soon as the Cheonan incident happened that it would turn out to have been the responsibility of a North Korean small submarine, because a torpedo fired by a larger submarine makes a noise which can reveal its location.

    Lee explained more. “A torpedo fired from a submarine contains more than 1 ton of high explosives, and, therefore, when pushed out by the compressed air in the tube the noise created is significant. A torpedo is designed to be pushed out by compressed air and then the propellant used to spin the propeller. Therefore, firing a torpedo is possible, but easily detected. The most important condition for infiltration is secrecy, which means North Korea will not use any method that creates much noise.”

    On an alternative possibility, that of the Cheonan being sunk by a mine, he explained, "The laying of an influence mine is extremely difficult, and the explosive power of a mine is more than 5 times that of a torpedo. So, judging by the destroyed Cheonan, the possibility of this being the cause is very low."

    In any case, Lee is totally convinced by the marking, “1-beon” on the torpedo drive shaft, saying it is a normal thing in North Korea and represents irrefutable evidence of his nation’s culpability.

    He commented, “In North Korea, even torpedoes are repaired by hand. For maintenance, a torpedo needs to be disassembled then checked for defects, rust must be removed, and other maintenance done. When a torpedo is being disassembled, sometimes a part can be lost or confused with another part of another torpedo. That is why they mark them with numbers and assemble them accordingly. The same method is used when they repair the detonator on an influence torpedo. The torpedo detonator only weighs about three kilograms, yet still it is disassembled and reassembled. So, it must be numbered several times.”

    “When numbering a submarine we generally use ‘ho’," he added, "but for the repair of parts we use ‘beon’.

    Lee is sure that North Korea felt confident of getting away with the sinking of the Cheonan, and he offered two reasons for this opinion. First, he pointed out that spotting a submarine infiltrating in either the East Sea or the West Sea is not easy.

    For example, when The Daily NK asked Lee how many times he had entered South Korean waters before his last excursion to Gangneung in 1996, he was unsure, saying, “It is difficult to say.”

    He added that, secondly, “North Korea was sure that finding evidence would be difficult so they must also have thought that feigning innocence would be possible. When South Korea finally salvaged the front and back halves of the sunken ship and found evidence using trawlers, they must have been taken aback.”

    Lee stated, “In 1985, in the coastal waters around Yiwon, the collision of a ship and a submarine took place which sank the submarine. However, they could not retrieve the bodies from the submarine even though it was in shallow water; similar to the level from which South Korea salvaged a North Korean submarine off Sokcho in 1998. Therefore, based only on their own technological level, they believed that the perfect crime was possible.”

    Lee believes the involvement of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance in all such missions is absolutely inevitable, and added compelling evidence of Kim Jong Il’s own involvement, too. “Day-to-day commands are issued by Major General Kim Young Chul,” he said, “but many processes require the approval of Kim Jong Il.

    “When I was being sent to Gangneung, Kim Dae Sik, the chief of the Reconnaissance Bureau at the time, commanded all strategy and training,” he went on. “A few days prior to deployment, Kim visited me and read a hand-written letter from Kim Jong Il. He told me to ‘be successful and then return to base,’ and gave me foreign liquor. I believe this time would have been the same.”

    Lee says he believes that the reason North Korea attacked the Cheonan was to “retaliate for the humiliation of the Daechung Naval Battle,” and speculated that Kim Jong Il was trying to display his authority to the military and public officials by taking revenge on South Korea. However, he added, “North Korea has no intention of occupying the West Sea and changing the Northern Limit Line (NLL). During my days in the then Reconnaissance Bureau, I never once heard anything about recovering the NLL. That is just an attempt to build up tensions; since they lost the naval battle they took revenge by submarine, which is their strength.”

    Finally, Lee commented on public suspicions that North Korea might not have been responsible for the Cheonan sinking, calling it a source of consternation.

    “I do understand,” he said, “that a person has the right to think freely, however, there are some parts I cannot understand. 46 South Korean soldiers have died, and they need to find the cause and punish those who are responsible, yet people seem only to be interested in doubting the government. This is a simple case that even the helmsman of North Korean submarine can understand, so why can’t general citizens understand this? I believe it is due to an excess of sympathy for North Korea in South Korean society.”

    http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk02500&num=6445
     
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    well if you think that india can be made a client state then you think wrong.India's again opening up to iran and SCO just another hedging after being cold shouldered by present obama administration.But as of today india is still heavily inclined towards usa thats another reason India did not show much enthusiasm for deals offered by Putin on his last india visit.Indian govt. though heavily inclined towards usa is in confused state thats the reason its in suspended animation on both ie the relations with usa and also SCO.Interesting times yeah!!!!
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    SCO is not going anywhere. India is joining in there just to stay in the loop and not be left out from any happenings. Otherwise the group is full of competing and adversarial states which means the organization will not last too long or will be severely undermined.
     
  19. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    If anyone had ever bothered to look at a map, downtown Soul is over 40km from the NK border. The only thing that can hit it are a handful of 170mm guns and 220mm rocket artillery. The rest of the arty is useless against the capital. Those guns and ammo are so old their shells will be more dangerous to the launcher than the target. With SK and US counter battery fire they wouldn't last ten minutes. The big threat is the ease NK would be able to infiltrate the border, but they have been separated so long they have developed distinct accents. Just need good security apparatus. Final thought is ROK could overun NK pretty easily with US running cover fire. Starving soldiers would be surrendering like Iraq. Just have to keep China out of it.
     
  20. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    Clinton and Gates to hold talks in South Korea on July 21

    The secretaries of state and defense, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, will travel to South Korea for bilateral talks with their counterparts on July 21, the Pentagon said on Monday.

    The talks are expected to focus on strengthening security ties amid heightened tensions between the two Koreas after the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, widely blamed on North Korea.

    Pyongyang has denied responsibility and a U.N. Security Council resolution last week condemning the attack stopped short of directly blaming the reclusive North.

    The United States has about 28,000 forces in South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North nearly six decades after the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

    The U.S. military had long planned to hand over wartime operational control of Korean forces by 2012. But President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak agreed last month to push back that date until the second half of 2015.

    The delay was meant to send a clear message about U.S. staying power in the region and had been under discussion months before warship's sinking, U.S. officials say.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66B51K20100712?type=politicsNews
     
  21. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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