After a decade of reconciliation, the two Koreas appear to be heading back to the confrontational Cold War era, with inter-Korean tension escalating to a 10-year peak.
South Korea decided Tuesday to join in a U.S.-led initiative to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), a move that came following North Korea’s second nuclear test and a test-firing of three missiles Monday.
Pyongyang had threatened that it would regard South Korea’s joining the so-called Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) as a de facto declaration of war.
After conducting its second nuclear test, the North appears ready to be preparing another series of missile tests.
Tension is expected to further escalate as South Korea, the United States and Japan are acting quickly to arrange tougher sanctions on North Korea.
Korea Times columnist Michael Breen said, however, that it is too strong to conclude that the Koreas are revisiting the Cold War era. “Probably, I must say tension is increasing in inter-Korean relations. We may say that the latest developments indicate the end of the `sunshine policy’ of engaging with North Korea,” he said.