Fallout of a North Korea attack

No one needs regional instability

Type 001A, China's first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier, is seen during a launch ceremony at Dalian shipyard in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, yesterday. Photo: AFP

Apr 28 2017 - Amidst all the show of force and sabre-rattling by North Korea and the United States, has anyone bothered to ask what would happen if push comes to shove? No matter how tyrannical the leadership in North Korea may seem to the outside world, we are not dealing merely with a country that has operational nuclear arms, but fields significant conventional firepower in the field and will, in all probability (if attacked) launch all of its weapons, nuclear or otherwise at neighbouring South Korea and beyond. Those are the ground realities. It is not without reason that Beijing is sufficiently worried about the potential consequences of any attack on North Korea, which will be both immediate and long-term. Even if the nuclear weapons programme is neutralised on Korean soil, the radiation fallout will be significant and it has everyone worried.

The only country which has any influence over the North Korean leadership is China and Beijing must be entrusted by Washington to deal with the situation. Already, it is reported that China has stopped buying North Korean coal, which happens to be one of the few commodities that the country exports legally and this squeeze can be broadened to curb trade across the border if Pyongyang continues to act irresponsibly with its nuclear arsenal. The last time the world came this close to a potential atomic war was during the Cuban missile crisis and even there cooler heads prevailed. We are sure there are a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomatic negotiations going on over the tense issue prevailing in the Korean peninsula today, and we hope, for the sake of humanity, pragmatism will win over belligerence.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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