Analysts say both North Korea and South Korea are closely monitoring the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, albeit for different reasons.
North Korea does series of missile tests in January, but not this month – possibly out of respect for neighboring and ally China, which is hosting the Winter Olympics. With the Olympics over and the Biden administration’s attention on Ukraine, North Korea may decide it’s time to resume weapons tests, to gain more diplomatic leverage with Washington.
“The crisis in Ukraine gives North Korea more options, whether it’s a missile test,” said Cheon Seong-whun, former director of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded study. long-range fire or even a nuclear test. institute in Seoul.
Lee Byong-chul, professor of political science at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul, said that in South Korea, many would see Washington’s response to the Russian invasion as a test of their credibility as a military ally.
He said the failure of American leadership could even increase public support for the idea of South Korea having its own nuclear weapons – an idea the South government opposes. opposition, but has grown in popularity as North Korea continues to build up its arsenal and China has become more assertive in the region.
“The Koreans saw the United States looking like a toothless tiger in its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Professor Lee said. “If it proves Ukraine has no backbone, they will talk more about arming their country with nuclear weapons, because they wonder if Ukraine has to endure the humiliation they are suffering. now if they don’t give up their nuclear weapons.”
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine give up Soviet nuclear weapons on its soil in exchange for a guarantee of security.
South Korean online chat rooms boil over as people discuss the impact of Ukraine’s invasion on the divided Korean Peninsula. Some say a weak US response will make North Korea determined not to give up its nuclear arsenal.
The South Korean government condemned the invasion and pledged to join international sanctions against Russia. As of Saturday, the North Korean government had yet to issue a statement about the invasion.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/world/asia/north-south-korea-russia-us-ukraine.html On both sides of the Korean Peninsula, keep an eye on Washington’s response to Russia