Commemorating the beginning of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak saluted hundreds of Korean War veterans from home and abroad and said, “I deeply bow my head and experss my respect to you who devoted your hearts and bodies to the country by putting studying behind and picking up guns despite your young age,” according to the Korea Herald.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik speaks on Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul on Saturday (AP)
The commemorations come after a year in which North Korea launched two separate deadly military attacks on South Korea — the torpedo sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, and the November 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, killing four South Koreans.
The South Koreans never retaliated for the two attacks, though they infuriated the South Korean people, and raised nationalistic sentiment. One reason for the South’s hesitation is the strong support that the North Koreans received from their long-time ally, China.
China will not support a new North Korean military provocation
But China has reportedly said that it will no long stand by North Korea if there’s another attack, according to Mainichi (Japan).
On Thursday, President Lee Myung Bak reported told a group of lawmakers that China has officially notified the South Korean government that “it won’t stand by the North if it makes an additional provocation.”
It remains to be seen whether China holds to that promise, if another military attack occurs.
North Korea has suffered food shortages for many years, but they’re worse than ever this year, according to the Washington Times. World Food Program (WFP) analysts are warning that North Korea could face its worst food crisis since the famine of the 1990s that claimed more than 1 million lives, because severe weather and floods greatly impacted the 2010 fall harvest, leaving no food supplies for months until the summer harvest.
Western food aid to North Korea has been cut off in 2009 because of their nuclear weapons program. On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted by Korea Times as saying,
“We have made no decision about providing food aid to North Korea at this time.
Any such decision must be based on legitimate humanitarian needs, competing needs elsewhere around the world and our ability to ensure and monitor that whatever food aid is provided actually reaches the people who are in need,” she added. “Therefore, North Korea must address our serious concerns about monitoring and outstanding issues related to North Korea’s suspension of previous food aid programs before we can consider any decision.
The lack of food is causing mass starvation, malnutrition, and even cannibalism, according to Strategy Page. The result is an increasing number of angry anti-government protests, something that was unheard of in earlier years.
The “Jasmine Revolutions” in the Arab world are causing concern and possibly panic in the North Korea’s government. North Korea has imported large amounts of tear gas, shields, and helmets from China, apparently with the aim to suppress any uprisings, according to Chosun. Late last year, the North launched special riot control force in preparation for massive demonstrations. The units have reportedly developed new riot control methods for public places like railway stations, markets, schools, and parks.
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the South Korean government is in a deep state of denial with respect to the possibility of reunification of North and South Korea, which have been separated since they were partitioned after World War II.
On Tuesday, South Korean president Lee said that unification could happen at any time, and could come unexpectedly sooner rather than later, according to Yonhap. He said inter-Korean unification would come like “a thief in the middle of the night,” and that Seoul needs to prepare for such an eventuality.
This is completely unrealistic. This view comes from the reunification of German in 1989, which DID come suddenly and unexpectedly, after the Berlin Wall fell. But there’s a huge difference between the two situations: Germany was in a generational Unraveling era at that time, and a serious reunification war was impossible; Korea is in a generational Crisis era today, and reunification WITHOUT a serious war is almost impossible.