World Press Speculates About Tensions on Korean Peninsula

      May 28, 2010 12:43

      Worldwide media speculation is running high as tension deepens after South Korea accused the North of sinking the Navy corvette Cheonan in March.

      Time magazine on Wednesday laid out a scenario for a limited war of small-scale skirmishes. The most dangerous and likeliest place is the West Sea. Even before the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, three clashes had taken place there. If the North does not recognize the Northern Limit Line, which was drawn by the Allied Forces following the truce in the Korean War, there is a constant threat of confrontations.

      The second flash point is the demilitarized zone, the weekly said. When Seoul announced its plan to resume so-called psychological warfare -- broadcasting propaganda across the demilitarized zone. North Korea warned that it would fire at loudspeakers. The South has said it would exercise the right to self-defense. The magazine said even a small skirmish can lead to greater war in times of intense tensions.

      Meanwhile, Newsweek believes North Korea is seeking a way out of the impasse created by the sinking of Cheonan. Although North Korea's bellicose rhetoric is getting louder, this is really a verbal response to the South Korean reaction, rather than serious action. "In May -- before the North was officially blamed for sinking the Cheonan -- the National Defense Commission dismissed Kim Il-chol, its highest-ranking naval officer, due to his 'old age,'" the magazine said. "Kim Il-chol is said to be in his late 70s, but the dismissal makes little sense; the commission is full of old-timers in their 70s and 80s. The removal of the naval commander could be Pyongyang's first step toward admitting culpability, albeit tacitly, and claiming to have punished the responsible party."

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