Mullen: North Korea’s Unpredictability Endangers Region

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2010 — The only thing pre­dictable about the North Kore­an regime is its unpre­dictabil­i­ty, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a tele­vi­sion broad­cast today.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN today that North Kore­an dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-il is try­ing to assure the tran­si­tion of lead­er­ship to his son, Kim Jong-un. He implied that the sink­ing of the South Kore­an navy ship Cheo­nan in March and the artillery strikes on Yeong­pyeong Island on Nov. 23 are part of that process. Mullen called the North Kore­an leader bel­liger­ent and dan­ger­ous.

“He is con­sis­tent­ly desta­bi­liz­ing and is only pre­dictable in his unpre­dictabil­i­ty,” the admi­ral said. “He gal­va­nizes every­one around with the poten­tial that they could go to war with South Korea.”

North Korea is on a path to devel­op nuclear weapons, and the artillery strikes on Yeong­pyeong Island are lat­est sign of his con­tin­ued bel­liger­ence, he said. Kim Jong-il report­ed­ly cit­ed South Korea’s recent mil­i­tary exer­cis­es with the Unit­ed States as a rea­son for the artillery strike.

How­ev­er, the Hoguk series of exer­cis­es that began ear­li­er this month in South Korea and include 70,000 South Kore­an troops, have been long planned, Mullen said. Exer­cis­es built around the USS George Wash­ing­ton car­ri­er bat­tle group in the Yel­low Sea began today. Both sets of exer­cis­es are built around deter­rence, in response to the sink­ing of the Cheo­nan, which killed 46 South Kore­an sailors.

“It focus­es on secu­ri­ty in the Yel­low Sea par­tic­u­lar­ly in respect to sub­ma­rine war­fare,” he said. “It is meant to send a very strong sig­nal of deter­rence and also to work with close allies in South Korea.

“I don’t think this will be the last exer­cise,” he added. “This is a part of the world that we’ve exer­cised in for decades and we will con­tin­ue.”

South Korea and the Unit­ed States are focused on restraint and not let­ting the sit­u­a­tion get out of con­trol, the admi­ral said. “The South Kore­ans, so far, have respond­ed that way,” he said. “Nobody wants this thing to turn into a con­flict.”

Chi­na is also urg­ing restraint and Chi­nese lead­ers prob­a­bly are the only peo­ple who can exert influ­ence on North Korea, Mullen said.

“The Chi­nese cer­tain­ly were involved with the response at the Unit­ed Nations after the sink­ing of the Cheo­nan,” he said. “The North Kore­ans were tak­en aback by the strength of that response from Chi­na. We think it is impor­tant for the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to lead, but in par­tic­u­lar, Chi­na.

“It’s a very dan­ger­ous area when [Kim] does this. It desta­bi­lizes the region, and Chi­na has as much to lose as any­body.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →