North Korea is vowing a ‘sacred war’ with South Korea, so say the government in Pyongyang. This comes as South Korea began another round of live-fire, military exercises. The Korean Peninsula has been a tinderbox ever since North Korea fired artillery rounds on Yeonpyeong Island. Diplomacy between Seoul and Pyongyang has been sketchy at best with tensions rising on both sides of the 38th Parallel. China has been urging restraint by South Korea and their American allies. Former Clinton adviser, Bill Richardson, who cut deals with North Korea during the 1990s to end their nuclear weapons program, and failed, is back again to try to calm the situation down.

PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 08: A North Korean soldier stands guard as the border town reopens following North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong in late November, on December 8, 2010 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea struck the South Korean Island of Yeonpyeong on November 23, resulting in four deaths and further injuries, prompting return fire from South Korean troops. South Korea's new defense minister Kim Kwan-jin took office on December 4, vowing South Korea would launch air strikes on North Korea in the event of another attack. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

While the former New Mexico governor tries to be optimistic that a peaceful resolution can be reached, the government in Seoul is taking no chances. The recent increase in military exercises is meant to demonstrate South Korea’s readiness and resolve. Meanwhile, circumstances across the DMZ in Pyongyang appear more confusing as the regime of Kim Jong Il grows shaky.

Many analysts question who is really running North Korea right now? This latest threat of a ‘sacred war” comes from North Korea’s defense minister, Kim Yong Chun. He said that they are “fully prepared to launch a sacred war” and threatened the use of nuclear weapons. The media organ for North Korea, the KCNA, has been ratcheting up the hysteria over South Korea’s military exercises. Some of which were scheduled well before the incident on Yeonpyeong Island, where North Korean artillery killed four people.

South Korea claims that this latest round of military exercises has nothing to do that incident, nor the sinking of a South Korean warship earlier this year. But there is no doubt that tensions on the Korean peninsula have been steadily increasing over the past few months. North Korea’s defiance on it’s nuclear weapons program and their long-range missile tests has not helped matters. The multi-lateral, 6-way talks between the Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have produced nothing as of yet. When Bill Richardson arrived in North Korea last week, he said that the two Koreas were on the “brink of war”.

For those of us whom have read the classic work by James F. Dunnigan, “How To Make War”, we know that the Number One reason why a nation goes to war in the modern era is due to internal strife. Be it a bad economy or just plain bad leadership, a government on the brink of collapse will use war with a neighbor to rally support amongst it’s citizens and as an excuse to clamp down on dissidents. North Korea is such a country that is on the verge of collapse. Their economy is horrible, they are even unable to feed themselves. With the current leadership situation shaky at best, what we have here is a recipe for disaster.

If North Korea is now vowing ‘sacred war’ with nuclear weapons against South Korea and her allies, then the hope of a resolution between Seoul and Pyongyang now seems more remote. Despite intervention by China and now Bill Richardson, a peaceful solution appears elusive. The Obama administration has done little to impress any resolve on the key issues surrounding North Korea’s nuclear weapon development. The incident at Yeonpyeong Island several weeks ago raises the speculation that Kim Jong Il may no longer be running North Korea with a firm hand. As far as South Korea is concerned, they have a right to defend themselves and to prepare and keep such defenses at the ready through ongoing military exercises.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 30: South Korean war veterans burn North Korean flags during an anti-North Korea rally on November 30, 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean and American military forces began war games exercises Sunday as tensions between the two Koreas remain high following an artillery exchange on the disputed island of Yeonpyeong on November 24. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Related Articles:

NKorea threatens ‘sacred war’ amid tension

North Korea threatens nuclear ‘holy war’ as South stages firing drills

DPRK media blast S Korea’s military exercises