Fletcher in the News

'Dangerous Arms Race' on the Korean Peninsula: Seoul's Worrying Response to Pyongyang Missile, Prof. Lee Talks with CNBC

Seoul's rapid comeback is widely viewed as justified and indicates the nation was prepared for North Korean hostilities. However, analysts called the venture risky, warning it could escalate an already-tense situation.

"As an American waking up in Seoul to news of this latest provocation, I'm unnerved by the image of missiles being launched into the skies by both Koreas," said Jean H. Lee, global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "This is a very dangerous arms race."

In a statement, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said its military's quick response represented combat readiness, Yonhap News reported. The country will be holding a National Security Council meeting later in the day to discuss the situation, while the U.N Security Council is also expected to convene.

"South Korea wants to show the world that it is not the only Korea that has advanced military capabilities ...They want to make sure Kim Jong Un knows who he is dealing with, and that South Korea can go tit-for-tat in a conflict, even without the U.S.," said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at The Center for the National Interest, a Washington-based think tank.

[...] "To practice bomb drills when the enemy is conducting nuclear and ballistic missile tests that are hundreds of thousands of times as powerful as the conventional bombs the South is showcasing, there's an element of futility, if not tragedy, to the South's stand," said Sung-Yoon Lee, professor at Tufts University's The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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