Skip to comments.South Korea moves to heightened alert level (map of global security alerts)
Posted on 06/05/2009 1:42:08 PM PDT by STARWISE
South Korea moves to heightened alert level EVENT
South Korea raised its five-level Watch Condition (Watchcon) to level two on 28 May, for the fifth time since the Korean War ended in 1953.
The move comes after North Koreas 25 May nuclear test.
The increase in Watchcon from level three means that the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) will deploy additional intelligence-collecting assets and increase reconnaissance missions.
The heightened alert status of the CFC came after North Koreas bellicose reaction to South Korea joining the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on 26 May. Pyongyang subsequently stated through its state-run news agency: The Korean War armistice has lost its binding power, so the Korean peninsula is at war.
The 27 July 1953 armistice has acted as a ceasefire since the end of the Korean War, although no formal peace agreement has been signed.
South Korea joined the PSI after North Koreas second nuclear test on 25 May. The test, which achieved an estimated yield between 1.5 and 4 kilotonnes, followed the 5 April launch of the Unha 2 space-launch vehicle and North Koreas 14 April withdrawal from the six-party negotiations to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.
This series of proliferation-related events prompted South Korea to announce its accession to the PSI, an informal grouping of states created in 2003 to interdict shipments of goods that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Given North Koreas sale of missile-related products over the past two decades to countries such as Pakistan and Iran, any curtailment of this trade could reduce a useful source of hard currency for the otherwise impoverished country.
North Korea reacted belligerently to South Korea joining the PSI. Pyongyang stated on 27 May: Any hostile act by South Korea, including a crackdown on and search of our vessels, will be met with strong military attacks. The same statement warned that North Korea cannot guarantee the legal status of South Koreas five islands in waters near our maritime borders and the safety of US or South Korean naval and commercial vessels operating in neighbouring waters.
This has raised concern internationally and in South Korea that a clash might be forthcoming, similar to the June 2002 skirmish near the disputed Northern Limit Line that killed five South Korean sailors and an estimated 30 North Korean personnel. Alternatively, North Korea could attempt a bolder strategy of engaging US forces, perhaps in an operation similar to the 1968 capture of the surveillance ship USS Pueblo.
Large-scale conflict on the Korean peninsula is improbable. The vast technological superiority of South Korean security forces and the presence of 28,500 US troops in the country serve as an effective military deterrent. Reflecting this, while Watchcon was raised to level two, the Defence Readiness Condition (Defcon) remains at level four. Nonetheless, should South Korea engage in PSI-related interdictions of North Korean vessels, a naval clash near the disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea (West Sea) is possible.
Surprised to see Guatemala at "significant" risk.
Why is it Okay for 2 members of the axis of evil to have nukes - Iran and N. Korea, But folks here in the US are increasingly being told that we need to rely on windmills and the sun to provide our energy? At what point does the American public stand up and say we have had enough?
We now have 16 government czars controlling almost every aspect of our life. Government owns auto, insurance and banking industries and wants to run hellth care. At what point do we make a stand? Why is it Okay for Iran to have nuclear energy and N. Korea to explode nukes but we have to disarm and look forward to the wind and sun for energy? I never thought I would see anything like this. It gets worse every freakin day.
“Large-scale conflict on the Korean peninsula is improbable. The vast technological superiority of South Korean security forces and the presence of 28,500 US troops in the country serve as an effective military deterrent.”
This assumes a rationale actor on the NK side of things . . .
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