South Korea and its counterpart, North Korea, have a history of conflicts. However, these conflicts escalated dangerously in recent times when in the year 2010 North Korea was accused of firing artillery onto an island in South Korea. South Korea responded fire but the event resulted in several injuries on South Korea’s part. North Korea also was held responsible for sinking a South Korean warship in the same year near the disputed maritime border. Investigations revealed that this even was a result of a torpedo strike by a North Korean submarine.
These events resulted in more tensions between the long-time foes when North Korea declared itself as being in a state of war and by disconnecting the military communication. The military communication is among the few communication channels open between the two divided nations and its disconnection creates a sense of uncertainty in the region with a high chance of conflicts resulting from misunderstandings.
North Korea raised its level of aggressiveness by an open threat of closing the Kaesong industrial park which is a highly significant trade zone for South Korea. The trade zone is run jointly by South Korean experts and the labor from North Korea. This threat from North Korea is to bolster its influence and importance in the region.
North Korea has also expressed dissatisfaction over the military cooperation with South Korea and the UN as well as the sanctions United Nations placed over it due to recent nuclear tests. As part of military exercises in collaboration with South Korea, the US army used two of its B-2 stealth bombers to drop fake ammunition on the Korean peninsula to which North Korea responded very aggressively. North Korea’s leader Kim ordered his top military command to place rockets on stand by and threatened to attack US targets in the region.
A spokesman in the US’s National Security Council responded to North Korea’s threats by communicating with North Korea and trying to diffuse tensions. But in order to safeguard its geographic assets and military installments, the US has strengthened its missile defense capabilities and early warning systems.
Given the history and nature of conflicts between the two counterparts, events usually take a sudden turn towards the worse due to North Korea’s military designs and aggressions. Both the sides are in dire need to resolve the long term standing disputes in order to ensure peace and stability in the region.