How a War in the Korean Peninsula Would Affect You

I must admit that my political analysis is very rough on the edges, I have to thank the ordinary rudiments of life for that. Writing many articles on "things" rather than processes tend to dull my ability to bring forth more careful analysis of situations as I was trained to do. 

UPDATE 2: November 29, 2010 (Reuters)
(Reuters) - South Korean and U.S. forces pressed on with massive military drills on Monday as regional powers considered a call by China for emergency talks following North Korea's attack on a southern island.
China's proposed emergency consultations come amid global pressure on Beijing to take a more aggressive role in the standoff between the rival Koreas and try to rein in ally Pyongyang using its leverage as its largest source of aid.

UPDATE: (Wall Street Journal Online)

"BEIJING—China engaged in high-level diplomacy to try to cool tensions on the Korean peninsula as the U.S. and South Korea on Sunday started a naval drill that has prompted dire warnings of reprisals from North Korea.
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday and said China "opposed any acts that harmed the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula," China's state news agency Xinhua said." (SOURCE)

With that out of the way, let us proceed with the subject matter at hand.

The recent actions of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has caused a lot of political repercussions that may affect this particular region of the world. To be sure, the elements of posturing by the DPRK, has the people of South Korea, particularly in Seoul worrying about their lives as well as economic security.

Much of this can be attributed to the possibility of war and the effects of it in the long term. Seoul is but 30 to 45 minutes away from possible aggression and might be in the range of North Korean artillery emplacements. (Korea Times)


"By Bae Ji-sook

Seoul is never safe from North Korea’s artillery attacks such as the one that broke out on Yeonpyeong Island earlier this week, analysts say.

As the capital city is filled with skyscrapers and a complicated layout of roads, the severity of damage that could be caused by any military attack threatens to be even higher, they said. "

How I think a North Korean War will affect you if you are in the Asia Pacific region

If you are in the Philippines, then it has already affected you in the form of the Executive Order issued by President Aquino, barring Filipinos from going to South Korea to work. (

"MANILA, Philippines –  President Aquino has suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to South Korea while the government assesses the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
This, as tensions continue to rise in the Korean Peninsula following North Korea’s artillery attacks Tuesday on a tiny island claimed by Seoul."

Another way by which you could affected if you live in the Philippines, is through the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. (

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines under its mutual defense treaty with the United States has an obligation to send troops in case war breaks out between North and South Korea, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Sunday.
“But given our capability, we can only send our doctors, nurses, engineers and maybe some ground troops. These are what we can only contribute because we do not have any air force, we do not have any navy,” Enrile said in an interview with dzBB radio.
Article IV of the mutual defense pact signed in August 1951 states that “each party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Needless to say, the last 10 years has seen the rapid rise of immigration of South Koreans to the Philippines. While we welcome our South Korean neighbors to our wonderful country, it must be noted that there are many issues involved in the hosting of war refugees. There's the issue of culture, there's the issue of employment and a host of other problems.

A War That No One Will Win

It is a war which no one will win. While all of these posturing and actions, by all parties involved, may have something to do with these three factors:

a. Resumption of multilateral talks concerning Nuclear disarmament (Bloomberg)
b. US - South Korea Military drills  (
c. Precarious turnover of power from ailing dictator Kim Jung Il to 26 year old son

the events that transpire before us, may lead to a gross miscalculation of all the parties. Ergo:
  • The United States thinks that Nokor will not initiate and does not have the capability to engage in full scale conflict.
  • The DPRK thinks that the U.S.-South Korean tandem, intends to effect political change by bringing the uncertainty of invasion to the doorstep of the reclusive state as its dictator turns power over to his successor.
The underestimation of each by the other could ignite a conflict that could see the use of nuclear weapons unseen since the second world war. With a standing army of 1.1 million active troops (CIA), the DPRK is not really an Iraq or an Afghanistan. Even if the CIA already has the ears of a general in the North, it would definitely be a conflict that would have devastating casualties.

Why a War Now?

The United States simply cannot live with a starving nuclear armed state headed by a 26 year old general. If there is a time to alter the politics of the region, it would have to be between now, Kim Jung Il's death or after the succession.

The possibility of splinter factions headed by a disgruntled general within the DPRK and the entering of nuclear weapons in the equation is just too dangerous. In a way, it would be better to change the dynamics of the politics there through force now or regret it later.

On the other hand, the DPRK has consistently shown in the past that it does not have the wherewithal to initiate conflict. It's choice of words in the KCNA, the official mouthpiece of the state, has indicated that it is by no means eager to initiate a war it knows it cannot win.

In fact, one cannot analyze the situation without pointing out that South Korean blood has already been shed and yet no retaliatory measures have been initialized by both the US and South Korea aside from conducting war drills.

World War III?

Speculation is rife that a war in the Korean peninsula will lead to a war between the US and China.


The China Wildcard

The DPRK is sending an envoy to China for bilateral talks. (Washington Post)
China Warns US as Korea Tensions Rise (Wall Street Journal)

"BEIJING -- A state news agency says a senior North Korean official will visit China this week. The visit comes amid heightened tensions following North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island last week.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday that the chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly will visit China from Tuesday to Saturday.
It says Choe Thae Bok was invited by China's second most powerful official, Wu Bangguo. Wu is chairman of the rubber-stamp National People's Congress.
No further details were provided."

The involvement of China in a regional conflict would have the farthest reaching consequences which would also affect among others, Japan. Japan is a critical point in this regard should China be involved because of the presence of a US Air base in Okinawa. In fact, Japan is in the cusps of an election between two governors who are campaigning for the removal of the US bases on various grounds. (AP)

"TOKYO (AP) — Voters headed to the polls on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa on Sunday to choose between two gubernatorial candidates campaigning for the removal of a controversial U.S. Marine baseThe U.S. Futenma air base has been located on Okinawa island since 1945, and residents have long complained it produces aircraft noise and crime. A 2006 deal between the U.S. and Japan to relocate the base to a less crowded location on Okinawa has stalled over public opposition to the plan. The controversy even toppled a prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, earlier this year. The two candidates for Okinawan governor have both run on a platform that opposes the relocation plan, and the alliance between Washington and Tokyo will likely be tested no matter the outcome of the vote. Okinawa, home to about half of the some 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan, is a strategically important island close to Taiwan and the Chinese mainland and not far from the Korean peninsula. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, allowed for under a half-century U.S.-Japan alliance, is critical to deter regional security threats. His argument may be driven home by recent tension on the Korean peninsula, in particular North Korea's artillery strike on a South Korean island on Tuesday, as well as worries over China's growing military power. But any relocation of the base will need the governor's approval."

On the other hand,


"President Barack Obama is expected to speak with Hu Jintao on the North Korea crisis in the coming days, according to U.S. officials.
The White House declined to comment on China's response so far to the North Korea attack, noting that U.S. consultations with Beijing are ongoing. "The president's conversation with Hu Jintao will be extremely important," said a senior U.S. official.
The U.S. has been planning a naval exercise in the Yellow Sea since July, when an expanded list of training events was announced in response to the March sinking of the South Korean patrol ship Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors and was widely blamed on the North.
The July exercises also came after China had objected strongly to a speech by Mrs. Clinton in which she said that the U.S. had a national interest in protecting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Ever since, China and the U.S. have been engaged in a tussle for influence in the region, where many Southeast Asian nations that have territorial disputes with China are looking to beef up defense relations with the U.S." (Wall Street Journal Online)
Japan's Stand (

"As for developments in the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what course of action North Korea will take remains unpredictable. For the time being, we must recognize that the point of focus is whether the situation will further escalate from the incident. Based on my order following the instruction of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Defense will continue to make utmost efforts to gather and analyze information on North Korea's military movements with considerable attention and to consequently ensure the peace and security of Japan."

  • Stocks will go down (Bloomberg)
  • Gold rises (Money.CNN)
  • List of South Korean conglomerates (Wikipedia)
    • South Korea is the world's largest shipbuilder. South Korea produced more ships in 2008 than the entire rest of the world's combined output.
    • POSCO is one of the largest steel makers in the world.
    • Samsung Town in Seoul. Samsung is one of the largest companies in the world.