North Korean Calculus in the Maritime Environment: Covert Versus Overt Provocations
CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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In March and April 2013, North Korea manufactured its first crisis under the new leadership of Kim Jong-un. This was not entirely unexpected, given Pyongyang s penchant for testing the mettle of new South Korean administrations, its need to burnish its new leader s military credentials, and its abiding desire to secure a peace treaty with the United States. Yet, the intensity of the crisis surpassed similar crises during the Kim Jong-il era and forced Pyongyang watchers to question their long-held beliefs regarding North Korea s risk calculus. A growing consensus within leadership circles in Washington and Seoul is that this was not a one-off event. In fact, this new, bolder brinksmanship strategy on the part of North Korea will come in cycles. As with this crisis, these cycles will begin with North Korean provocations and move up what is no longer a necessarily predictable escalation ladder. The potential for miscalculation on both sides will be real.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics