Hawaii false alarm reveals more than human error

By Liu Lulu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/16 23:08:41

A false alarm that a ballistic missile was heading straight for Hawaii threw the islands into a panic Saturday. Although the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency later explained that the alarm was an error made by its employee during a shift change, the mishap was a vivid reminder that Northeast Asia is on the edge of escalating tensions between the US and North Korea.

While delicate talks between South and North Korea continue, tensions on the peninsula have settled into a steady simmer. For some, the alert issued at this time has other implications than human error.

Apparently Washington is on high alert for any potential threat from Pyongyang. But for some observers, the snafu can even be interpreted as a signal that the US has made full preparations for the worst scenario: a real war with North Korea, following several rounds of insults and verbal threats between the two heads of state.

The alert is only a part of Washington's precautionary measures against Pyongyang's threats, but in the meantime, it reminds people that the country may have already prepared a preemptive military strike against North Korea.

The Iron Fist drill between Washington and Tokyo kicked off last week in the US western state of California, with more than 500 US Marines and sailors joining their Japanese counterparts in fire support operations and amphibious assaults.

Moreover, Washington and Ottawa are bringing foreign ministers from 20 countries to Vancouver for an international meeting on the North Korea nuclear issue, a move seen by many as Washington's attempt to revive the long-forgotten multilateral military alliance. All these events suggest that the US may have already mapped out a comprehensive military plan for North Korea.

In fact, despite Seoul-Pyongyang talks, it is the US and North Korea that hold the keys to solving the nuclear crisis. North Korea's nuclear weapons program is intended for securing the regime, or, as Russian President Vladimir Putin put it, "They [North Korean people] would rather eat grass but will not give up the program if they do not feel safe."

Offering Pyongyang a sense of security is the solution. But there is no sign so far that the US is willing to decrease its military pressure on North Korea.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula accords with the common interests of all sides. China urges all parties concerned to consider its "suspension for suspension" and "dual track" approach proposals to solve the crisis. China stridently opposes any unilateral move to escalate tensions in the region. The US should act to control risks.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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