Johns Hopkins: No pre-emptive North Korean threat

April 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- U.S. and South Korean militaries aren't reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula but there is no pre-emptive threat from North Korea, researchers said.

North Korea conducted its third underground nuclear test in February. It has since backed out of the armistice that ended the Korean War in the 1950s and increased belligerent rhetoric.

Blog 38 North from Johns Hopkins notes there are no direct signs that North Korea is preparing for a pre-emptive military strike, however.

"Pyongyang does not appear to be harboring plans for a pre-emptive strike against its potential adversaries," the assessment reads.

The U.S. military deployed stealth bombers over South Korean airspace and said it would deploy anti-missile systems to the U.S. West Coast as a deterrent. Johns Hopkins counters that a close reading of North Korean developments suggests it's looking to revitalize its economy along with its nuclear program.

"These developments suggest that, rather than unleashing an all-out war, Pyongyang is in fact keen to develop its economy," it stated. "Of no less importance is the fact that, for the time being, people in both countries (North and South Korea) continue to live their normal daily lives."

Johns Hopkins added that while tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at historic highs, North Korea has limited its aggression to talk.

"While North Korea has so far been limiting itself to rhetoric ... its opponents have been taking actual steps towards greater escalation of the conflict," the assessment reads.

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