Tensions rising in North Korea

April 3rd, 2013

Tensions continue to escalate between North Korea and South Korea. South Korean factory workers found themselves without access to the Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint complex that had in the past been a symbol of cooperation between the two countries. The industrial park lies just inside North Korea. This latest development comes a day after Pyongyang announced it would restart a nuclear reactor, a move highly criticized by the international community, including China.

International relations professor William Keylor recently spoke with WCVB-TV in Boston discussing what these actions by North Korea mean to the Korean Peninsula and the world. Keylor is the author of A World of Nations: The International Order Since 1945. Below are some of his comments:

On North Korea’s motive: “When you keep repeating that the American imperialists are about to attack us, then that will enforce cohesion within the country.”

How can it be stopped: “I really think that the key to this whole problem lies in Beijing. China is the only one with any kind of leverage over North Korea. So I am hopeful that the Chinese government will recognize that this is going to be a real challenge.”

Worst case scenario: “A miscalculation that could be catastrophic. The capital of South Korea is 30 miles from the demilitarized zone and if the North decided to attack, it would be, in a matter of seconds that South Korea would be devastated.”

Can N. Korea’s weapons reach mainland U.S.: “Every indication that I have is they don’t have that capability.”

View video of entire interview here.

Contact Keylor at 617-358-0197 or wrkeylor@bu.edu.

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