“Ominous clouds are hovering over Northeast Asia as North Korea complicates the power game in the region between the United States and China.
A clear-cut division has formed with South Korea, the U.S. and Japan on one side and China backing North Korea on the other. Japan, which is no doubt annoyed and disturbed by China’s newfound power, moved fast to capitalize on the growing tension following North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island.
It appears as though Japan is rapidly moving to strengthen its military, known as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The country is poised to announce a major realignment of its military structure, which has mainly been confined to a defensive focus. New policy guidelines mapping out a strategy through 2015 allow for more flexibility to address a host of threats in the region amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and China’s growing influence and assertiveness. According to these guidelines, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces could be dispatched beyond the country’s waters.
Against this backdrop, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently said officials are exploring the idea of dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals if needed.”
WELL, That is NOT what Korean people were hoping for. The thought of Japanese troops ‘dispatched beyond the country’s waters’ to the ‘Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals’ is a REAL SHOCKER for most.
“South Korean and U.S. officials discussed the future of a unified Korean Peninsula after the collapse of the North Korean regime, according to diplomatic cables unveiled on Sunday by WikiLeaks. And despite international surveillance, North Korea managed to export 19 mid-range missiles to Iran, and U.S. intelligence believes military cooperation between the two countries is far more extensive than previously thought.
They contain information that North Korea exported 19 BM-25 missiles to Iran with a range of 3,000 km, which puts the capital cities of most major West European countries and even Moscow within range.”
Yes, folks it keeps getting worse, not better. Yesterday, the South Korean Civil Defense Forces had a nation-wide alert:
The government staged a nationwide civil defense drill Wednesday against possible attacks by North Korea as cross-border tensions run high after the North's shelling of a border island last month.
The exercise began at 2 p.m. with all South Koreans asked to flee to nearby air raid shelters, subway stations or other designated underground facilities at the sound of the raid sirens.
Ten mock North Korean aircraft flew over major cities, including Seoul and Busan, and people driving cars were asked to immediately park along roads and go to shelters.
The 15-minute drill was the largest-ever in the country since such drills began in 1975, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, has been conducting the drills eight times a year. However, they were often largely ignored and not complied with fully by the public.
The drill was held as tensions run high on the Korean Peninsula following the North's Nov. 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border that killed four people.
The bombardment also injured 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes, marking the first attack by the North on a civilian area on the South's soil since the end of the Korean War.
At 2 PM I was in a residential area of the Nowondong, area in the northeast part of Seoul. I was told of the air raid sirens from one of the student’s mother, who seemed more embarrassed than concerned. Reports are that very few in the city gave it much thought, and with less than 100 gas masks available inside the subway stations it hardly matters. No, it will take just one shell, one artillery shell or rocket to send a ‘tsunami of shock’ through the good citizens of Korea. God forbid. Hmmm, wonder if I should get a Gas Mask online?