The Ongoing Korean War

 

On Wednesday, North Korea announced it was cutting the last line of communication with South Korea as war could break out any moment warning the United States and South Korea of nuclear attack a few days earlier. The threat comes in line with the latest from North Korea in response to new U.N. sanctions imposed after the third nuclear test in February and to hostile military drills under way in South Korea with the United States according to Reuters. The North stopped communicating with the U.S. military that supervises the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Red Cross line that both sides use. As the North’s KCNA news agency reports, a military spokesman stated that, “Under the situation where a war may break out at any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides. There do not exist any dialogue channel and communications means between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the north and the south.”

However, few believe North Korea, formally known as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), will start a full scale war as North and South Korea are still at war after the 1950-1953 civil conflict ended with an armistice not a treaty which the North will not honor anymore, Reuters reports. The “dialogue channel” used everyday is to process South Koreans who work in the Kaesong industrial project which is comprised of 123 South Korean firms who employ 50,000 North Koreans to make household goods and on average 120 South Koreans are stationed here at any one time. It is the last remaining project the two Koreas share as South Korea cut off aid and trade in response to the shooting of South Korean tourist in Pyongyang and the sinking of a naval vessel. As a last resort, Pyongyang would close Kaesong which is one of the last currency earners for North Korea doing $2 billion a year in trade with the South. The South said it would take steps to protect the workers at Kaesong but would not elaborate according to Reuters.

Seven Score and Several Wars Ago…

An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found the government is still making monthly payment to relatives of Civil War veterans, 148 years after the conflict ended, leading many to believe that the U.S. government will be doing the same for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While many military families come to terms with the sacrifices they make to protect their country, the government has had to pay out more than $40 billion a year to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns, and the Afghanistan conflict with costs rising rapidly at the 10 year Iraq war anniversary. As U.S. Senator Patty Murray explains, “When we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about the cost” adding that her WWII-veteran father’s disability benefits helped feed their family according to the Associated Press. Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator and veteran, said that government leader working to limit the national debt should make sure the veteran’s need the money as he said “without question I would affluence test all of these people.” Because of the improved battlefield medicine and technology, a greater number of troops survive costing the government more money in disability payments as the Associated Press analyzed the post war cost in each conflict in four compensation programs which include disabled veterans, survivors, survivors of those who died in war or service disability, low income wartime vets over 65 or disabled, and low income survivors of wartime vets or disabled children. The information obtained by the AP gathered the information from millions of federal payment records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The total compensation with each war:

The Iraq wars, Afghanistan and first Persian Gulf 1990s costs $12 billion a year  and total so far at $50 billion since 2003 not including medical car other benefits provided to veterans which is likely to grow.

The Vietnam War costs $22 billion a year 40 years after the conflict and payments are rising as new ailments are added such as diabetes and heart disease. A congressional analysis estimates the total cost of fighting the war was $738 billion in 2011 dollars and the benefits for veterans and families has cost $270 billion since 1970 according to AP calculations.

World War I  which ended 94 years ago has cost$20 million every year while World War II cost $5 billion. The Korean War costs appear to be leveling off at $2.8 billion per year. Of the 2,289 survivors of WWI, one third are spouses and dozens of the are over 100 years old.

 

There are 10 living recipients of benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish American War costing $50,000 per year and the Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans each $876 per year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Korea Threats: South Korea Skeptical, Apathetic After Years Of Rhetoric From Pyongyang

North Korea Threats: South Korea Skeptical, Apathetic After Years Of Rhetoric From Pyongyang.

It has been two decades since North Korea has issued a threat to South Korea to turn the country into a “sea of fire” which caused war like panic, but on Saturday South Korea reacted with little worry or care about continued threats this last week with similar warlike propaganda from the North including a revisit of the “sea of fire” vow. South Koreans don’t see a serious threat nor action will be taken as this is the way it has always been especially now that North Korea is reacting to U.N. sanctions and a major U.S.-Korean military drills. In Seoul, South Korea passerbys took picvtures and laughed as healines flashed across the jumbo screen about North Koreas war threats. When asked, according to Associated Press, Oh Jin-young a South Korean office worker had this to say: “The odds of dying from a North Korean bomb are probably smaller than being killed in a car accident. I’ll spend my time doing better things than worrying about war….North Korea knows that war will be like committing suicide.” Even with the overall apathy to the situation, there are some fears as in recent years where bloodshed has risen with the sinking of a South Korean warship which found the North at fault and an artillery attack on front line South Korean island killing four people in 2010 leading some to believe war is possible.

Across the demilitarized zone, North Korea after the sanctions were announced this past week have ended the Korean War armistice, given up on a nonaggression pact with South Korea and now has turned its attention to Washington as the aggressor threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The Associated Press in Pyongyang on Saturday talked to some North Korean who were very upset about the U.N. sanctions. One citizen, Sin Myong Sil explains that, “I cannot control my anger…Some countries can launch satellites, and one country can conduct nuclear tests freely, and they are not blamed, but only our country is prohibited from doing nuclear tests and launching satellites. This is absurd and illogical.”  In order to boost public confidence, according to the Associated Press, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Friday that North Korea’s government would “evaporate from the face of the Earth” if it ever used a nuclear weapon. With continued threats from North Korea over nuclear strikes on Washington, experts still believe Pyongyang does not have the technology to allow warhead ballistic missiles to reach the U.S.

North Korea Nuclear Test: Japan, South Korea Ready Armies Following Provocation

North Korea Nuclear Test: Japan, South Korea Ready Armies Following Provocation.

As Norht Korea claims another successful nuclear test in defiance of U.N. warnings, South Korea ups their military preparations and mobilizes their scientist Wednesday to determine whether the claim is true. The denotation is also the focus of global diplomatic maneuvers with the US Secretary of State John Kerry reaching out to China, Japan and South Korea. While President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address, stated that firm action may be taken and to assure his allies. “Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats,” Obama said. The device in question was detonated on Tuesday at an underground site in the northeast. The goal for North Korea is to build a bomb small enough to fit on a missile capable of striking the U.S. Intelligence officials in Seoul believe that another nuclear test and ballistic missile launch test will occur. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that if the U.S continues their threat and hostility then they will continue their testing. Japan and South Korea are collecting data on these tests by collecting air samples and South Korea has raised their military readiness level as well as deployed cruise missiles that are capable of hitting North Korea at any time and plan to deploy ballistic missiles. In an emergency session, UN Security Council unanimously said the testing poses a clear threat to international security and peace and pledge further action. The test was a defiant response to UN orders that required North Korea to shut down its atomic activity or face more sanctions and international isolation. Despite tensions, U.S. and North Korea diplomatic talks could likely occur later this year.