North Korean threats raise global concerns

9:46 PM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Threats from North Korea are nothing new, especially this time of year when the U.S. and South Korea engage in military operations together, but, this time there might be more cause for concern.

It has plenty to do with Kim Jong Un. The young leader is immature, possibly looking to assert power and save face by following through on his threats.

South Korea also has its first ever female president and Kim Jong Un may be trying to test her will.

"Because if they do what they did last time and attack an island or a ship, she's made it very clear that she'll respond and this could escalate very quickly," says Humphrey School of Public Affairs Professor Brian Atwood.

The United Nations has already imposed sanctions on North Korea and this time long-time ally China has joined in. Atwood says an attack on American soil is unlikely, but it doesn't mean we are not affected by what is happening there.

"Because a miscalculation could create a war that would have an impact on the global economy, it would have an impact on American soldiers, it would have an impact on our relationship with the Korean Peninsula," he says.

South Korea and Japan are the most vulnerable right now. The U.S. and the United Nations are keeping a close eye on the situation. The United States has stopped sending food aid to North Korea and for a country that is unable to feed itself, that could create other, more serious issues.

Atwood says this could soon turn into a humanitarian disaster as well as a political crisis.

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