North Korea's 'Shocking Escalation'

"North Korea’s attacks on Yeonpyeong island, killing two South Korean soldiers and wounding at least 14 others, is a shocking escalation by Pyongyang," says Asia Society Executive Vice President Jamie Metzl. "With the North Korean economy in freefall, the country’s leaders have likely concluded that attacks like this only increase their negotiating power. With South Korea still basking in the glory of the Seoul G-20 summit, the North Koreans may well have recognized that South Korea has far more to lose from any conflict than does the North, and that concessions can possibly be extracted by taking advantage of this disparity. These events could very well also point to conflicts within the North Korea establishment as different factions vie for power during a time of transition."

Jamie, who is based in New York, was recently in South Korea where he toured the DMZ as a guest of the South Korean military. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or