By Amber Daugherty
World leaders and foreign affairs analysts are watching as verbal threats of war continue to emanate from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, told senior officials on Monday that the country should respond strongly if North Korea attacks, “without any political considerations,” Reuters reported.
This comes after North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly met on Monday for its annual meeting, and said it had “unanimously adopted an ordinance that provides for giving nuclear weapons greater prominence in the defence of the country.”
On Saturday, North Korea announced it was “entering a state of war” with the south, accelerating threats that have been increasing in frequency since the country conducted its third nuclear test in February and had new sanctions imposed on it by the UN.
Rising tensions on the Korean peninsula have drawn the involvement of other nations. The United States has responded by taking part in military exercises with South Korea.
The U.S. announced on Sunday it would send F-22 stealth fighter jets to participate in war games with South Korea.
“It is important to send a clear message that we’re not going to be in any way intimidated by this kind of North Korean behavior,” Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Humber News on Monday.
There’s been much speculation that the threats from North Korea have been new leader Kim Jong-un’s attempt to gain the respect of military officials. who aren’t yet sure how to feel about the country’s third leader.
“It’s possible that what we’re seeing here is a young leader either finding his sea legs or proving his metal,” O’Hanlon said. “But your guess is as good as mine, and frankly as good as the best North Korea expert in the U.S. or Canadian government.”
“We just don’t have a lot of information about what motivates this particular leader.”
Some analysts are saying an attack from the country is unlikely, and that it’s possible these threats are efforts to increase communication between North Korea and Washington.
“I don’t see any basis for complacency,” O’Hanlon said. “But I do tend to think that because they don’t have a martyrdom complex, they’re relatively unlikely to start a war on purpose and that doesn’t totally reassure me that a war couldn’t happen by inadvertence.”
North Korea has been cutting off communication with South Korea in the past few weeks, citing anger over military drills by the U.S. and the south that involved American B-2 stealth bombers deploying dummy munitions near the Korean border.
On Sunday, top party officials in the country called nuclear weapons “the nation’s life.”
Other countries are watching the growing conflict to see what happens next in this war of threats that has been evolving daily for the past week.
“I think you have to be a little concerned,” O’Hanlon said, “even if there’s no need to necessarily run for the shelters just yet.”
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