As peace and even reunification between North and South Koreas seem to be growing more likely with each passing day, what with the combined Korean Winter Olympics ice hockey team drawing the crowds, it seems peace is but a veneer of soothing waves hiding a violent undertow beneath.

According to the South Korean Chosun Ilbo: China is preparing for a potential war on the Korean Peninsula by reinforcing missile defenses near the border with North Korea. Military units in Yanbian were relocated from Heilongjiang Province, thus adding 300,000 troops along the border.

This large troop movement comes days after hawkish comments by American “disarmament” envoy Robert Wood.

Wood told the UN that North Korea’s nuclear weapons must be “completely, verifiably and irreversibly eliminated” because it is “months away” from developing a missile that can strike anywhere within the US. 

This sort of talk harkens back to the pre-emptive strikes made allegedly because of the threat of WMDs that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was allegedly developing; the difference is that Kim has already demonstrated the capability to strike at least the US coast with nuclear weapons, while Saddam was never even trying to make WMDs.

In response to Robert Wood’s threat, North Korea claimed that it is the US that will strike first in a “pre-emptive strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” that could precipitate nuclear conflict.

Wood also accuses Russia, China, and North Korea of “growing their stockpiles, increasing the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies, and – in some cases – pursuing the development of new nuclear capabilities to threaten other peaceful nations.”

China, Russia, and North Korea would likely respond that their WMD development comes in response to US development and deployment of anti-missile defense systems close to their borders on relatively disposable allied nation states, allowing it to unilaterally thwart Mutually Assured Destruction … from the Patriot anti-missile system in Poland to the  Aegis anti-missile defense system in Japan and THAAD in South Korea.

Indeed, because the main target for China, Russia, and North Korea in a war scenario is the US (and not the smaller pawns around them as some might be led to believe), new nuclear weapon delivery systems (such as hypersonic ballistic missiles) would need to be developed in order to circumvent these defense systems completely rather than be forced to take the gambit.

At risk now is a war between two competing superpowers and a demonstrably nuclear-capable wild card.

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