Iraq and Yugoslavia have been occupied by American and allied troops for the past several months. Where might the next flash point be which would require U.S. troops and firepower? According to analysts it could be the Korean peninsula. Last August North Korea launched a rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as the western United States. The obvious danger to any Asian country, especially South Korea, is obvious. The Korean War is far from settled.
Less than three years ago North Korea failed in an attempt to land a squad of commandos on the South Korean coast. A submarine carried 26 North Korean commandos and sailors whose mission was to infiltrate and reconnoiter military installations along South Korea’s east coast. When the sub’s engines failed, the commandos escaped ashore near the port of Kangnung. This probing operation was part of North Korea’s plan to launch a surprise blitzkrieg against South Korea.
Reunification with, or “liberating” the south has been a long held goal of the bizarre and fanatical communist north. From time to time massive numbers of troops have been deployed near the border between the two countries.
And now, according to a recent analysis by the Stratfor Agency, the United States and South Korea are poised to sign a formal agreement lifting restrictions on South Korean commercial rocket development and raising the current range restrictions on domestically produced military missiles. This announcement comes only weeks after South Korea tested a rocket that was deemed illegal under the previous agreement, suggesting the United States may have been forced into accepting a fait accompli.
Fear of North Korean missile advancements coupled with a desire to project power and influence in Northeast Asia has prompted South Korea’s urgent desire to develop and deploy long range missile technology. The new agreement could mark a change in long term relations between the United States and South Korea. The United States must keep troops stationed on South Korean soil to protect the fragile peace in this corner of Asia.
With under manned and under equipped American troops deployed in the Persian Gulf and Yugoslavian campaigns, the country can little afford another battle ground at this time. ( Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun; and Stratfor Global Analysis.)