As rhetoric between the United States and North Korea becomes increasingly aggressive, a former US Secretary of Defense has predicted the two nations are heading for “some form of conflict”.
William Perry, who spent years negotiating with the North Korean government aftert being sent as an envoy to Pyongyang by President Bill Clinton in 1999.
In a hugely rare trip for a US official – unthinkable in the current climate – he was tasked with brokering an agreement with North Korea that it not develop a nuclear arsenal in exchange for economic benefits or no imposition of economic sanctions.
And speaking to The New York Times’ The Daily podcast, Mr Perry said he believed he was on the verge of success with this, until President George W Bush was elected in 2000 and shut down the talks.
Kim Jong-un is in a much stronger position now the country has developed nuclear weapons, and Mr Perry gave his view on the likely outcome of the current escalation of tensions between the two countries.
“In the direction we’re moving now, I see us heading toward some sort of a conflict,” Mr Perry replied.
“Even a minor military conflict could do incredible damage to South Korea and a major conflict, another Korean war – even if it was a conventional war – we could easily see a million casualties.
“And beyond that the very real likelihood that, as North Korea started to lose that conventional war, which they would, they then might resort to the use of nuclear weapons and a last-minute armageddon, you might say.”
North Korea has been flexing its military might in recent weeks and months with missiles tests, and President Trump’s responses have been getting increasingly bellicose, his most recent this week promising “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” if Pyongyang threatens the US.
Source: The Independent