As the combative rhetoric emanating from both the United States and North Korea shows no signs of abating, many are beginning to become increasingly concerned over the possibility of military action becoming a harsh reality.
Following a massive military parade in Pyongyang at the weekend, during which new long-range missiles were displayed (although experts have cast doubt over their operational readiness), United States and South Korean officials reported that North Korea had launched a missile – thought to be a test – only for it to explode just seconds later.
The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, described the act as a “provocation” during a speech in South Korea, and reiterated America’s commitment to its ally on the Korean peninsula.
Clearly, though, the bombastic posturing from world leaders has done little to help the quickly escalating situation, which has gone far enough now for military activity to seem a less-than far-fetched concept. North Korea has warned the United States against what it described as “military hysteria”, and maintained that the country is ready for war.
Earlier, news reports circulated revealing what appears to be a propaganda video shown during the Day of Sun festival in North Korea that depicts a submarine launching a missile at a US city, resulting in a massive explosion. Now, it seems that Russia and its President, Vladamir Putin, are preparing for the worst-case scenario.
It appears that Putin is hedging his bets in case military action does become a reality on the Korean peninsula, after reports emerged suggesting that the Russian President has ordered troops to Russia’s border with North Korea in anticipation of a mass exodus of refugees, should Donald Trump exert military force over the country.
The news follows China’s decision to send 150,000 troops to deal with a potential influx of North Korean refugees – Beijing is also fearful that many would attempt to flee across the border if the worst happens and military activity is not avoided.
Images surfaced today purporting to show Russian military troops and equipment on its way to the border in the south-east of the country, although officials have not confirmed the intent behind the movement of soldiers and resources.
It seems unlikely that any US military offensive in North Korea would do anything to patch up the shaky relations between America and Russia, who have been less than friendly since the airstrike conducted by US military forces on a Syrian military base earlier this month. It is thought that Russian military officials were given less than 30 minutes notice of the strike, and the United States has accused Russia of failing in its duty to temper the Assad regime in Syria.
Donald Trump has vowed to “deal” with North Korea, and made plain in a recent Twitter post his hope that China could yet prove a useful force in tempering the defiant stance Pyongyang is taking against the United States.
It is thought that North Korea intends to go ahead with plans to conduct a sixth nuclear test, in what would be an open resistance to sanctions put in place against them from several other countries and international bodies.