Expert on North Korea:
'It will end with a few missiles in the sea'

Expert on Korea believes that the rhetoric and statements from North Korea will not lead to war in which no one has an interest.

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Shimon Cohen,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un

Despite threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. Army and the South Korean Army began a joint drill on Monday.

Dr. Alon Levkowitz, an expert on Korea at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, estimated in a conversation with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that, despite North Korea’s objection to the joint exercise, it will not do anything drastic.

"We have only noticed the bombastic statements made by North Korea because the Israeli media noticed them. Every year they come out with declarations in an attempt to reduce the scope of the drill or cancel it. In light of the tensions in recent weeks, the North Korean statements look different, but it is estimated that the exercise will take place despite the calls from North Korea and it can be predicted that the North Koreans, who threatened to launch missiles at Guam, will launch short- or medium-range missiles to convey the message that they are not satisfied with the drill,” he said.

Asked to compare the latest statements from North Korea with ones made in previous years, Dr. Levkowitz said he does not see any reason for panic, noting that particularly belligerent declarations were made in previous years as well.

"In the past, they promised to set fire to Seoul, and that did not happen. The only change compared to the past is North Korea's ability to launch long-range ballistic missiles and their ability to minimize a nuclear warhead, but despite these technological advances, the North Koreans do not intend to launch such missiles because this could bring an end to their regime, especially in light of the presence of Donald Trump in the White House. And he has already hinted that he might respond with ‘fire and fury,’" noted Dr. Levkowitz, who opined that even Kim Jong Un is guided by a rationale.

"The North Koreans believed that they should show strength in the face of the American threat, because without deterrent nuclear weapons they would be threatened. That’s why they were persuaded to turn nuclear, so that they would be treated with the proper respect. The problem with dictatorial regimes is that their logic expands when it comes to eliminating political opponents. The current leader has outdone his father and grandfather and is killing relatives who pose a threat left, right and center, so there is some logic in terms of survival and the price they are willing to pay to ensure it.”

“It will be difficult to convince them to give up their nuclear weapons because this is the only thing that gives them confidence and there is no incentive that would persuade them to give up on it. The change of the last few weeks is a leaking of information that increases the pressure on North Korea, such as the information that Russia or Ukraine may have transferred engines for missiles, or that chemical weapons were intercepted on their way to Syria. This places pressure on North Korea so that it tones down its conduct. There are statements here that the media has inflamed more than in the past. The hope is that everyone will flex his muscle and then we will move on to the next crisis,” continued Dr. Levkowitz.

As for Trump's contribution to regional tensions, he said that the change between current reality and the reality which existed in the Obama era is rooted in the concern of the Asian countries about Trump's policy on Asian crises. At the same time, it is also clear to those concerned that despite Trump's remarks, no one has an interest in going to war.

"The price could be very painful, hundreds of thousands of deaths and damage to the economy of the Asian countries and the American economy."

As for the threats on Guam, Dr. Levkowitz believes that here too, at most the North Korean regime might launch missiles at the sea in order to prevent a reality that could be destructive.