The latest military tests carried out by North Korea have raised tensions in North Asia. Pyongyang launched ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan region, at a lower altitude than usually used in military exercises.
In response, South Korea and the United States also carried out tests in the region, in a demonstration that they are also present in the area.
The escalation between the Koreas leads to the classic question: what are the chances of an armed confrontation between Pyongyang and Seoul? Two experts interviewed by the R7 they do not believe that a war will start in the near future.
The professor of international relations at ESPM and specialist in Asia Alexandre Uehara says that a conflict between South and North would not favor either of the two nations, nor the neighboring countries.
“I don’t see the likelihood of war happening now because, despite tensions still in Northeast Asia, I don’t see it would benefit any of the actors — not North Korea, not South Korea, or Japan and Russia. There is already a lot of stress internationally,” says Uehara.
The expert also highlights the numerous tensions taking place in Asia at the moment, such as the United States, Taiwan and China and Japan and Russia.
“Right now, the Northeast Asian environment, which involves North Korea, South Korea, Russia, the United States, Japan and Taiwan, is a region, geopolitically speaking, with a lot of volatility. ”
The professor of international relations at Facamp (Faculties of Campinas) James Onnig says that currently that region of Asia is experiencing the moment of greatest tension in the last seven years. The US tests, by the way, are an example of the sensitive moment in the region.
“These answers serve to remind the North Korean government that there are US bases in South Korea, there were once more, but that did raise tensions a lot”, explains Onnig.
For the Facamp internationalist, the actions of North Korean President Kim Jong-un are a way of establishing the country itself on the map of world discussions.
“The use [de Kim Jong-un] of the ballistic system, the nuclear system that he wants to build, is geared towards guaranteeing the regime. That’s what he wants to do, using it as a bargaining chip, so to speak.”
What is North Korea’s military capability?
In September of this year, North Korea’s politicians signed a law making the country’s nuclear status irreversible. In other words, any negotiation on the end of Pyongyang’s atomic arsenal project is currently illegal. Consequently, this decision keeps Western and even Eastern countries from talking to Kim, who is becoming more and more isolated from the world every day.
The lack of agreements with other nations also raises questions about what types of weapons can be part of the North Korean arsenal. Uehara says that there is a follow-up on the country’s war progress, but there is no way to say exactly what Kim’s options are.
“There is a follow-up of the development that is being done in North Korea, both in terms of missiles and nuclear weapons, but there is no precise information on what is being developed by the North Korean government.”
There is also doubt about the accuracy of North Korea’s missiles, but Uehara was emphatic: “South Korea and Japan are very urbanized countries, where the population is very concentrated, you don’t need much precision to cause damage to these two.” countries. So even with inaccurate missiles, the damage can be quite significant.”
For Onnig, as much as Pyongyang’s weapons exist and can have great destructive power, the professor highlights the long bond between the peoples of the two countries as a link that will continue to unite them.
“North Korea has highly destructive weapons. If she’s going to use that weapon against South Korea, I think it’s very unlikely. Because despite this rivalry, there is a question of the united Korean nation, which goes beyond the existence of these states”, he concludes.