TWO KOREAS CHANGING THE GAME
NK's recent provocations leave Seoul and Washington with few options
The Hankyoreh, April 25, 2012
This was the word North Korea experts used to describe the recent volley of hard-line statements between Seoul and Pyongyang. Analysts suggested the situation may be a replay of previous instances where the Lee Myung-bak administration took a hard line on North Korea in an effort to “change the game,” only to have a concerned Pyongyang come back with even more provocative statements.
The barrage of strong words from Lee began with a radio broadcast on Apr. 16, shortly after the general election. At the time, Lee said, “the US$850 million spent on the missile launch could have bought 2.5 million tons of corn, the North Korean food shortfall for the past six years.” He also said, “In preventing itself from receiving 240,000 tons of nutritional aid by backing out of the North Korea-United States agreement [reached on Feb. 29], it basically took food away from its people.”
He followed this up with remarks made on an Apr. 19 visit to the Agency for Defense Development in Daejeon, where he said South Korea “can deter enemy provocations when it is strong. Then [North Korea] can’t behave rashly.”
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