Kaesong incident justifies North Korea's future provocations: The Korea Herald

Vehicles leaving the Kaesong joint industrial zone pass through disinfectant spray before a checkpoint near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, on Feb 11, 2016.
Vehicles leaving the Kaesong joint industrial zone pass through disinfectant spray before a checkpoint near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, on Feb 11, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

In its editorial on Feb 14, The Korea Herald says North Korea could retaliate against the South's withdrawal from the inter-Korean industrial zone, and President Park Geun Hye needs to make clear her stance on the stalinist state.

The possibility of additional provocations by North Korea appears rising in the wake of the South's closing of the Kaesong industrial park, as the Saenuri Party cited in a report from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The NIS reportedly predicted that Pyongyang would conduct partial military attacks in inter-Korean border districts or other South territories. It also reportedly notified the ruling party of the North's feasible cyberterrorism activities or assassination of a high-profile North Korean defector.

After withdrawing the South Korean workforce from the joint industrial park in the North city in retaliation for the North's nuclear tests and missile launch, the Park Geun Hye administration is busy in trying to induce global superpowers' economic sanctions on the communist country.

Sanctions via diplomatic talks with the United States, China and Russia might be realised, while there is skepticism over effectiveness and reaching a consensus among the countries. The core concern is armed conflict between the two Koreas.

Since the previous Lee Myung Bak administration, the Defence Ministry has said it could carry out military strikes on the North's core facilities as counterattacks against provocations or preemptive assaults.

But Seoul has only been involved in passive firefights on the Northern Limit Line and launched no counterattacks even after South Korean soldiers died from guerilla attacks. The Defence Ministry only vowed retaliation.

In consideration of past cases, a doubtful point is if the Park administration has the willingness to wage battle - firing cannons into the North's territory for example. And whether the sort of independent action is possible without the consent of the US military stationed in the nation.

So the public remains pessimistic when it comes to the issue as to whether the government has second-step tactics when the Kim Jong Un regime chooses a reciprocal provocation.

It could be natural that the Park government has domestically faced backlash on the shutdown. Some opposition lawmakers have raised allegations that the withdrawal was aimed at artificially building tensions ahead of the April 13 general election.

We would not back up the idea involving allegations. However, we recommend the president make public her future stance, apart from diplomatic efforts resorting to neighbouring powers.

Most citizens don't want a war. Simultaneously they don't want the government crying wolf.