Tension in Korea Stirs Asia

November 27, 2010

North Korea's attack on civilians living on Yeonpyeong, a South-Korean island near the western border between North and South Korea, has been rebuked by the U.S. and European nations. The island has military bases and civilians who are mostly fishermen.  Four South Koreans were killed in the attacks, two military personnel and two civilians.

The U.S. dispatched the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS George Washington to participate in "military exercises" in the Yellow Sea.  North Korea and China, North Korea's strongest ally, advised against the drills.  The North Koreans called the exercises "saber-rattling" and warned they could lead to further conflict.  I see no sense in holding war games that will only aggravate an already unstable and unpredictable situation.

The conflict has resulted in some immediate actions by Asian countries. Philippine President Aquino has suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to South Korea. There are an estimated 46,000 documented Filipino workers in Korea (mostly in South Korea) and an estimated 11,000 undocumented workers. Aquino has had talks with the Japanese ambassador about evacuating the Filipino workers to Japan if necessary. The President expressed concern over the scheduled South Korean-US military exercises that are taking place from November 27 to December 1st.

CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial is said to be "monitoring" the situation. The Saipan Tribune reported:
At the time, Demapan said it would be premature to speculate that the conflict in the Korean peninsula would serve as basis to escalate the impending military buildup in the Marianas.

Nonetheless, he said the governor pointed to the ongoing conflict as a prime example of the CNMI’s strategic geographic proximity in terms of the United States’ efforts to enhance national security forces in the Pacific.

"Oftentimes we tend to lose sight of the importance of our location in the Pacific. This is the reason why our region has always been considered as an area of interest in the nation’s military plans," said Fitial.

Senate President Paul Manglona echoed Fitial's comments, reiterating the CNMI and Guam's importance as a base to respond to military flashpoints not only in the Korean peninsula but in the South China Sea as well between China and Taiwan, one of the U.S.' staunchest allies.

“It goes to show that we are in a region where there could always be a possibility of danger. I think this one of the reasons why [we're very important] to the Defense Department. This situation in the two Koreas doesn't even have to happen. We really are strategically positioned. It shows our importance to the U.S.,” he said.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo issued the following statement regarding the Korean conflict:
"I have been briefed by officials at the Department of Defense about the situation in South Korea. I was informed that this situation poses no immediate threat to our island; however we will continue to monitor this situation. This blatant attack against our ally, South Korea, is in clear violation of international law and the sovereign rights of South Korea. This attack by North Korea is a reminder of the importance of the United States remaining a vigilant and visible power in the Asia-Pacific region. Further, it highlights the importance of realigning our military forces in this region to be better postured to address destabilizing events."
The conflict has adversely affected the stock market and contributed to the declining value of gold and metals. Of course, any escalation in tension could lead to an out-right war, which could result in the decline in numbers of Korean tourists to the CNMI and Guam.


Anonymous said...

And just what are any of these misfits going to do if a "war" breaks out?
The US Military doesn't actually need the NMI.
The NMI Wants to be needed by the US Military.
Guam is needed by the US Military. In case of a conflict the possibility of Tinian being utilized has more probability than Saipan.
Another thing, also there most likely would be some kind of travel, documents needed by Korean visitors (maybe anybody from the region) if this was to happen.

Anonymous said...

great. expect fitial to soon add the korean crisis to his long list of reasons for the downward spiraling cnmi economy.

JAL pull-out. sars. 9-11. avian bird flu. WTO rules change. H1N1. bad press. stock market crash. war. price of fuel. acts of god. the feds.

in fital's world, it's always someone else's fault.

Anonymous said...

There have recently been new outbreaks of "bird flu" in Hong Kong. Places like the Phil. Have put up "heat sensors" at the airport that can detect passengers that have higher than normal body temperatures.This may also add to Fitial's blame on "recovery" LOL