North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has stepped up his aggressive tone by threatening the US and South Korea with nuclear weapons. The White House has played down risks, but has also bolstered its military presence in the region. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that an escalation of the crisis could prove disastrous.
The United States and South Korea hold joint military maneuvers every year, and North Korea always reacts to the annual exercises with threats. But this time, Pyongyang has adopted a tone that is even more aggressive than usual. Experts say North Korea’s nuclear weapons don’t pose a real threat. Its leadership knows the country is would not win a military conflict, they say, but Kim Jong-un needs to show strength domestically at a time when even China is distancing itself from the isolated state. How dangerous is North Korea’s international isolation? How far will Kim Jong-un go? Will the situation stabilize over time?
Tell us what you think: Korean Crisis - More Than Saber-Rattling?
Eric Ballbach – is a research assistant at the Institute of Korean Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is an expert in inter-Korean economic relations and North Korean foreign policy and has visited North Korea multiple times as part of his research. He is currently writing his dissertation on the significance of multilateralism for North Korea’s foreign policy.
Quentin Peel – he is international affairs editor of the Financial Times. He is also an associate editor, responsible for leader and feature writing. He is working at the FT since 1975. Between 1976 and 1994 he served successively as southern Africa correspondent, Africa editor, European Community correspondent and Brussels bureau chief, Moscow correspondent, and chief correspondent in Germany. On his return to London he became foreign editor. He took up his present position in September 1998. He was born in July 1948 and educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he studied economics, with French and German.
Sven Hansen – studied politics at university before becoming a journalist. His interest in Asian affairs began when he was a freelancer working in Hong Kong as well as other centres. In 1997, he joined the Berlin daily the "TAZ", as editor of the Asian desk. He still often travels to the region.