South Korea is Provoking North Korea?

{Guest Post} A day after the November 23rd Yŏnpyŏngdo attack, Justin Raimondo rightly noted that “the South Koreans were conducting military ‘exercises’ near the disputed island, which North Korea claims as its territory, and South Korean ships had opened fire,” going on to suggest that “the military exercises, code-named ‘Hoguk,’ involving all four branches of the South Korean armed forces and some 70,000 troops, simulated an attack on North Korea, and were meant to provoke the North Koreans, who responded as might be expected” [Korean Conundrum: Is There a Way Out?]. He continued, “US troops were supposed to have participated in the exercises, but apparently the Americans thought better of it and pulled back at the last moment – perhaps because they knew a provocation was in the making”.

Mr. Raimondo went on to argue, even more pointedly, “For the South Koreans to conduct military exercises in this explosive region, never mind firing off rounds, is nothing but a naked provocation of the sort the West routinely ascribes to Pyongyang. In the context of North Korea’s recent revelation that it is increasing its nuclear capacity, the South Korean military maneuvers were meant to elicit a violent response – and succeeded in doing so”.

A few days later, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said of the incident, “Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime” [South Korean president takes responsibility for failing to protect country, signals hardened military stance toward North]. Of course, he is about right attacks on civilians being crimes against humanity, but he said nothing of the irresponsibility of holding war games so close to an inhabited and disputed island.

Read More of: Who’s Provoking Whom in the Koreas?

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Patty Lane

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