At 6:06 am a North Korean missile flew over northern Japan. The Japanese government has urged people to take precautions at this time.
Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Cabinet Secretary, has said that this represents an ‘unprecedented threat’ to his nation. Similarly, strong condemnation has come from South Korea and many of the ASEAN nations.
August has seen building tension between the USA and North Korea over Guam. It is a well-known trope that during the summer months the North Korean regime likes to flex its military muscles. Somehow the recent provocations by the hermit state seem more belligerent and desperate.
Rather worryingly, China has not yet publicly chastised the North Korean regime for its actions. The PRC’s news outlet Xinhua places emphasis on South Korean aggression. It is common knowledge that behind closed doors the CCP cannot stand Kim Jong Un. They see the DPRK as a relic of the Maoist era as well as a dangerous liability to their regional hegemony. Their acceptance of harsh UN sanctions on North Korea earlier this month reveal the extent of their loathing.
Nevertheless, it is still a pipe dream to think that Xi Jinping will take the lead in dismantling the North Korean state.
There is no doubt that an armed conflict with Kim Jong Un would pit the Chinese military against the USA. The implications of such a conflict would be global and utterly devastating.
The causes of war are rarely straightforward. They usually require foreign and domestic factors to converge. The USA is currently headed by an unstable regime that is desperately unpopular and does not hesitate to use bellicose rhetoric.
Kim Jong Un has proven to be equally bombastic by provoking his neighbours and being recalcitrant towards his erstwhile allies.
Although I think there is no desire by any of the major countries involved to go to war. Any potential for a slip-up or miscalculation poses a grave threat indeed. The resources that modern states have at their disposal is truly terrifying. To see the full force of world armies deployed against each other would result in total carnage. Cool heads and sensible diplomacy are going to be essential if we are going to avoid a crisis.