The increasing tensions between North and South Korea are threatening the stability of the Korean Peninsula.
"Following on recent military exercises with the United States, South Korea has begun a series of anti-submarines drills designed to improve naval training after the March sinking of Cheonan," said Michael Kulma, Asia Society's Director of Policy Initiatives. These began following an investigation determined the North was responsible for the sinking of a warship in late March.
The South has responded by denying Northern cargo ships permission to pass through its waters. As a result North Korea has declared that it will cut all of ties with the South until president Lee Myung-Bak leaves the office in 2013," said Kulma. "Adding to concern, North Korea detained a Southern fishing vessel, and has yet to respond to inquiries on that front."
Meanwhile the United States has made no secret of its intent to support South Korea. In fact the White House announced that there are plans to perform military exercises in a display of force intended to deter future North Korean aggression. This may lead to regress in the US-lead United Nations command group who had up to now been successful in easing the tension in the region.
South Korea, however, will not be appeased. It is already attempting to bring North Korea to testify at the U.N. Security Council for the sinking. It has also initiated a psychological warfare campaign. This will include dropping leaflets from balloons to inform North Korean citizens of the sinking, blasting western music at the border and airing news comparing economic and political conditions between the two countries.
More from Asia Society's Korea Center.