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Sinking of the ROKS Cheonan Korean naval vessel in the Yellow Sea of Pacific Ocean

by Rasika Sanjeewa Weerawickrama

(June 18, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) It was a devastating fact that the Korean navy ship ‘ROKS Cheonan’ sinking in the East China Sea around 9.22PM 26th March 2010. Cheonan was a Korean Navy Pohang Class corvette ship. It sank near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. At the time of its sinking, the ship was in South Korean waters, which are strongly guarded by South Korean and United States (US) military forces. That particular area was not being used for civilian or commercial maritime purposes. At the time of the sinking, there were 104 navy personnel on the ship. After the incident, 46 personnel were missing. Later, Korean navy rescue teams found 40 dead bodies.

In this essay, I will not examine the details of the Korean navy ship and the mechanics of its sinking. Instead, I will outline the reactions of deferent states in the international arena to this incident, and the emerging trends which followed. This essay will direct the international community to think twice about the authenticity of this incident. Furthermore, it will work to engage readers in questioning what happened before and after this event in the Asia Pacific region. I hope to incite questions among deep thinking people on what happened before and after this event in the Asia Pacific region. It raises the attention among people in different regions around the globe on their responsibility to maintain peace and security in the world. It will encourage stakeholders of society and civil society leaders to view humanity’s collective urge to protect and promote the rights of all people in this world. This essay serves as reminder of how we need to struggle for the improvement of socio-economic rights for the vast majority of people, particularly in the face of increased armed conflict in countries around the world.

ROKS Cheonan vessel

The South Korean navy is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced navy organizations in the world. The South Korean navy was developed to respond to the navel capabilities of North Korea, protecting its territorial seas, encouraging maritime trade and enabling foreign relationships. It is highly equipped with 170 commissioned ships and more than 20 destroyers and frigates. It is equipped with submarines, about 100 corvettes and fast attack crafts and 20 auxiliaries. It also has aviation capabilities.

The Cheonan ship was one of the navy’s Pohang Class corvette ship. The vessel was produced domestically in 1979 and work was commenced in 1981 with the Korean Navy. When the sinking occurred, the ship had been in service for around 29 years.

Controversial Investigation Reports

The ship sank due to a crack in the ship which ultimately resulted in the ship breaking into two parts. It occurred at 9.22pm Korean time. The final massage from the captain of the ship to the fleet headquarters was: "We are being attacked by the enemy.”

There were several predictions on the cause of the sinking. It was suggested that North Korea attacked the ship, since the ship was in waters close to the North Korean border. The other suggestion was that an old sea mine from the Korean War in the 1950s hit the ship and caused the crack. When the incident occurred, there was another South Korean Navy ship in close proximity to the Cheonan. Shortly after the Cheonan started to sink, the other navy ship fired towards an unidentified North Korean ship. Later, they found that their initial observations were inaccurate; radar indications demonstrated that the unidentified ship was in fact, a flock of birds.

From late March to the middle of May, there were several reports on the cause of the sinking. Meanwhile, recovery of the Cheonan was done by means of a floating crane. Parts of the ship was brought to a location in South Korean territory and inspected by a team of experts. South Korean authorities reported that they suspected the crack had been caused by a torpedo attack by a North Korean submarine.

It is important to note that on March 31st, the Korean newspapers ‘Chosu Ilbo’, reported that US intelligence agencies have evidence of a North Korean submarine being near the sea area where Cheonan sunk. However, they did not reveal any credible scientific evidence pertaining to their observations.

The most powerful opinion on this incident, which gained widespread attention and showed another side to the incident, was put forward by news agency AFP. They reported that the crack in the hull was clean, as if done by a knife. They spoke to to Paik Jeom-Ki, a Pusan University professor of ship mechanics, who said: "my scenario is this: the ship was grounded in shallow water which is not usually navigated and took in water from the damaged bottom." He further argued that "when the stern lost flotation and became weighed down with water, the ship broke into two. The sound of metal being torn apart may have sounded like an explosion." Furthermore, according to Yonhap news agency, the ship's stern was damaged, although not severely, during a 1999 naval battle with North Korea.

Later, a report issued on 20th May by the South Korean authorities following a report by maritime experts strongly stated that they believed the ship sank due to a torpedo attack from North Korean forces. The panel consisted of experts from Sweden, Australian, Canada, South Korea, USA and UK.

South Korean authorities have also said that they have found part of a ‘CHT-02D type’ propeller that has marks which appear to indicate the Korean mark for number 1. Furthermore, they say that the propeller is similar to other torpedo propellers produced in North Korea.

The North Korean peninsula is currently under threat of war. South Korean military authorities are threatening North Korea with war. Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State has condemned North Korea for its involvement in the incident. Trade between North and South Korea has ceased and South Korea has halted all aid to North Korea, with the exception of essential humanitarian aid. In doing so, South Korea has engaged in psychological warfare with the North.

Finally, the United Nations Command in South Korea has appointed another special investigation team which are comprised of experts from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden and Switzerland. The findings are pending.

While the South Korean and US authorities blame North Korea for the incident, trustworthy reports with credible explanation have been published in the New America Media magazine, with analysis written by Yoichi Shimatsu on 27th May 2010. According the that report, the Chinese authorities - while categorically refusing the probability of a North Korean torpedo attack - have strongly raised the more credible report on this incident.

The incident happened just 8 days after US and South Korean forces completed a Foal Eagle Exercise in this particular sea area on March 11-18th. For this operation, they used five missile ships. They also used anti-submarine maneuvers, which refers to particular Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations. For that they have used ‘rising mines’. These rising mines are effective only in shallow waters and these bombs were kept under the sea floor. These bombs have detection systems which utilize acoustics and magnetic readings to pick up enemy ships and submarines. Then “when activated, jets of compressed air or solid-fuel rockets lift the bomb, which self-guides toward the magnetic center of the target. The blast rips the keel, splitting the ship or submarine into two neat pieces, just as was done to the RKOS Cheonan”.

This position strongly suggests that the sinking of the Cheonan happened as the result of friendly fire by a US rising bomb.

The official statements issued by the US and South Korean authorities are directly challenged by the scientifically credible evidence above. When the investigations and the surrounding facts become controversial, greater responsibility on the part of nations is needed to deal with the situations. However, measures taken by the South Korean authorities shows preparation for more hostility along with United States forces. This could threaten the entire region and endanger the life of many human beings. As such, it is essential to examine other surrounding factors in this region.

North Korea and six party talks

The world has not witnessed a catastrophe like the Korean War after the Second World War in the early 1950s. The war began in the mid 1950s and went on for the period of 3 years. As a result of this war, both North and South Korea are being watched by other countries.

Now, North Korea is being accused by the US and South Korea for continuously testing weapons of mass destruction, and for gaining nuclear tests for build nuclear weapons. The Security Council of the United Nations has passed several resolutions and has imposed trade sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to curb these activities. As a result of these accusations, six party talks have been initiated and so far continue without success. The US, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and North Korea are participating in these talks. It is of no doubt that North Korean has superior missile capabilities, ranging from short range to ballistic missiles.

The major question that has arisen is this debate is what and for whom these nuclear weapons that North Korea is building are intended for. These weapons have the potential to seriously endanger many nations and the lives of numerous innocent civilians. If a nation or an armed group do not understand their responsibility to international peace and security, and they are also in possession of nuclear weapons, they constitute a threat to the entire world. The two nuclear tests carried out by the North Korea administration have proven that North Korea has mechanisms which allow them to successfully process uranium and assemble it with nuclear weapons and warheads, or is about to gain the capability to do so. At the same time, North Korea has developed its missile capabilities to short, medium and ballistic long rage capabilities. In the year 2006 they conducted a test of weaponry that would be capable of reaching the continental United States. The Taepodong 2 missile can also carry nuclear weapons.

Why is South Korea so important?

The Korean War ended with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953 between the United Nations Command which led the South Korean side of the war and the Chinese-North Korean Command which lead the North Korean side. Even after that, all South Korean Armed forces are under the control of the UN Command.

In 1978, the name of the UN command in South Korea was changed to ‘Combined Forces Command’ (CFC) allowing US military officer to take control. Furthermore, according to the law of South Korea the head of the CFC, the military officer is the head of all the forces of South Korean and US forces in South Korea.

In South Korea there are massive US military installments and thousands of security personnel. These forces include US air, naval, ground and marine forces. When it comes to the US air force, they operate from eight major airbases. Most personnel are stationed at large, well-defended air bases, such as Ch'ongju, Kangnong, Kunsan, Kwangju, Osan, Sunch'on, Suwon, and Taegu. There are number of smaller airbases throughout the South Korean territory. Some international air fields, Seoul, Pusan, and Cheju, can be utilized in wartime, as would specially designated sections of major highways.

The total number of US ground, naval and air force and marine divisions in South Korea would come to about 28,500 security personnel in the Korean territory. There are around 24 bases or camps. They are at located at strategic places around the South Korean territory in different locations such as Anyang, Yongin, Dobong-gu in Seoul, Yongsan-gu in Seoul, Busanjin-gu in Busan, 3 camps in Daegu, Incheon, Wonju, Chuncheon, five camps in Dongducheon, Osan Air Base in Songtan, seven camps in Paju, Camp Humphreys, Pyeongtaek, Seongnam, Suwon Air Base in Suwon, six camps in Uijeongbu, Jinhae Naval Base in Jinhae, Camp Carroll in Chilgok County, Kunsan Air Base in Gunsan, Camp McNab in Namjeju County, Camp Stanley, Camp Colbern, Camp Mujuk in Pohang.

Considering all these factors, it is clear that for the US, South Korea is one of their major strategic partners. One of the most needed location for their planers as world order. The attention they have given and the security setup that they maintain and people they stationed have repeatedly proven that.

Geopolitical leadership of United States in the Asia Pacific region in question

During the Second World War, the decisive role played by the United States in defeating the imperial Japanese power finally opened the avenue for them to stay in a number of strategically important locations in the Pacific region. The US was able to install their armed forces in Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Though officially the US does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state under international law, they have a strong relationship with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. They have had a strong security and economic relationship with Taiwan throughout these last decades.

While they maintain their military presence in these countries, they are also working to maintain and strengthen economic ties with these nations who are pushing for gigantic economic progress. American investments and companies in these regions have made radical technological developments in these countries. In doing so, they are openly becoming allies of the US, opposing the emerging powers of former USSR and China. In the year 2009, Japan maintained the world’s 2nd largest economy. The Korean economy was the 11th largest economy. Taiwan was one of the most technologically developed economies in the world. Though Philippine went in a deferent avenue in last decade it also standard as 48th largest economy of the world.

But presently, the pivotal role of the US with these nations has been called into question. This is mainly because the opinion of the US in many of these countries has aggressively changed; the emerging power of China as the regional power has made for remarkable diplomatic changes on the parts of these countries.

Okinawa and the peoples struggle against the existing US forces in Japan

At the end of the Second World War, Japanese signed for the surrounding papers. This agreement allowed the US armed forces to remain stationed in Japanese territory. They used numerous military bases in Japan, especially in Okinawa. These locations were strategically chosen. The US deployed around 1,200 nuclear weapons there but later they transferred these weapons from those locations. Still, they have deployed more that 35,688 military personnel in Japanese territory. Furthermore, 5,500 American civilians are employed with these personnel. The entirety of the US Seventh Fleet is based in Yokusaka in Japan. The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force is based in Okinawa and 130 US Air Force fighters have been stationed in Masawa Air Base and Air Base in Kadena. It is important to note that payment from Japan to the US for these US forces as annual host-nation support was USD 2 billion, only for the year of 2009. This directly represents the fact that the US is gaining money out of these military arrangements, but is becoming a burden to these nations.

In the recent past it appears that the people of Japan have little patience with the presence of the US in Japan territory. In terms of developments in Japanese politics between 2006 and 2010, Japan has been governed by 5 different prime ministers; this speaks directly to the fact that Japanese politics is in a state of turmoil. Finally, Yukio Hatoyama quit partly over a broken promise to move the US military base off Okinawa. He came into power with the promise of transferring Japanese Armed forces installments from Okinawa Island. Despite strong public pressure, he ruled the country until the end of May 2010. Finally, he left the office in response to the people’s opposition of his decisions. This shows the cumulative anger of the Japanese people and the strong opposition of the public against the US military presence in the country. While the government continues to maintain a close relationship with the US, the early popularity of the US Armed forces has turned into disdain.

If they want to stay in Japan in the future, the US administration is likely to face serious difficulty. As a result, the US government needs to create new allies in the region and has legitimate grounds for maintaining its relationship with South Korea.

The lost US military bases in the Philippines

When the Imperial Japanese occupied the Philippines during the Second World War, it was the US armed forces that came to the support of the Philippines. They were welcomed by the masses. Later, the US placed two strategically important two military bases in the Philippines. One was the naval base of Subic Bay located in Zambales, Philippines. The US also had the Clark Air Base on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The Subic Bay naval base was under US control from 1899, and after the Second World War they signed a Military Bases Agreement with the Philippines. On September 13, 1991, the Philippines Senate rejected the ratification of this treaty, citing a number of reasons for the rejection.

Under the administration of President Bush the war against terrorism boosted the US’ involvements in the Philippines. It was because of Abu Sayyaf, (also known as al-Harakat al-Islamiyya, which was active in Bangsamoro, southern Philippines,) that the US joined with Philippines Armed forces in the name of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ as part of the US global war on terrorism. Around 600 security personnel of the US Armed forces were able to join, but they are no longer had a permanent base in the Philippines.

US losing opportunities in Central Asia

It is a fact that Central Asia is fast becoming the world’s most dynamic region in geopolitics. This has the potential to make a number of dynamic changes in international relations among global powers. The former USSR was a covered and hidden region. The dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1992 commanded the attention of the global powers at the time, namely China, the US and later, Russia. The US led NATO and was free from the grip of Russia. They were able to make strong ties with Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan and many other new states in Central Asia. There were a number of reasons for these shifts. The most obvious reason was the increased access to hydrocarbon resources, petroleum and natural gas reservoirs in the region. Indeed, the natural gas reservoirs in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are considered among the highest in the world. Moreover, the region’s waste pasture allowed for huge production of animal husbandry as well as wheat and cotton crops, which are considered to be massive in comparison to the production in other parts of the world.

The great difficulty in this region is the lack of access by road to other regions other than through Russia. Comparing the routes that can be developed towards the Madetarean Sea via Turkey, it is clear that it would be easier to reach the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When the US began the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan was ready to work closely with the US administration to make an access road towards Uzbekistan. Today, that appears to be an extremely difficult task. The road would have to pass through a narrow region in Afghanistan which is under tight military control. Security cannot be ensured, even with added funds. Since there was a strong anti-US and anti-Western sentiment in general in this area, this volatile region is unsafe for Western travelers to pass through. During President Obama’s election campaign, Obama and his vice-President, Joe Biden, repeatedly assured citizens of the US that they would raise the number of armed forces in Afghanistan so as to fight with the true enemies of the US.

Presently, the emerging situation in Central Asia displays a different move in international relations. There were several changes in the ruling regimes of these countries. The political and economic strengthening of China and Russia means that Central Asian states are increasingly friendly with these governments, and are attempting to build relationships in these countires, such as with Shanghai Corporation Organization. Moreover, Russia and China have been developing access routes to natural resources in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan

Currently, Kazakhstan has the 11th largest proven reserves of both oil and natural gas. Overall, Kazakhstan's oil deposits are estimated to be at about 6.1 billion tons. Presently, Kazakhstan has a leading role with Shanghai Corporation Organization. China has built a large pipeline from Kazakhstan to China in order to benefit from the petroleum reserves in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has also engaged in military exercises with China and Russia.

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is the world's 7th largest gold producer, mining about 80 tons per year, and holding the 4th largest reserves of gold in the world. Uzbekistan also has huge reservoirs of natural gas. In 2004, the US had good relationship with Uzbekistan; it allowed the US to have military bases in its territory, in Karshi-Khanabad. In 2004, they did not allow the US government to use the military base.

Kirgizstan

The US forces had control of Manas Air Base in Kirgizstan, the last US air base in Central Asia. However, Opposition members started a demonstration demanding that US forces leave Kirgizstan and for the US-controlled Manas Air Base to be closed. The people’s struggle became increasingly violent against the ruling government and the president. On 15th April 2010, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev left the post, and the Opposition took power of the country. Ultimately, US forces will have to leave Kirgizstan.

Tajikistan

Tajikistan was close to Afghanistan and had a clear place in the US strategic plan for Central Asia. The US built a bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, creating access between Tajikistan and the South Asian region. Even so, the US had not successfully built strong ties with Tajikistan. But China has successfully settled many border disputes with Tajikistan, and in doing so, has created close bilateral relationships.

Turkmenistan

In Turkmenistan near the Caspian Sea, there are estimated reserves of 700 million tons of petroleum; Turkmenistan ranks 4th in natural gas reserves, after Russia, Iran and the US. Its gas reserves are estimated at 3.5-6.7 cubic meters and its prospective potential at up to 21 trillion cubic meters. Presently, the country is cooperating with China in the construction of pipelines for the export of natural gas. Because of turmoil in the Balkan region, especially in Turkey and Georgia, possibilities for the US to access and station a base in the region is become increasingly narrower.

Losing interest of US in Afghanistan

Shortly after the events of 9/11, US Armed forces started an invasion into Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. The invasion was led by US armed forces with member states of NATO supplying different military contingents. With the support of the Northern Alliance, the US forces were able to defeat the Taliban regime and appointed a new government with President Hamid Karzai at the helm, with the blessing of the Jirga Assembly. According to the US government, the war in Afghanistan took place so that the US government could control the Taliban forces whilst destroying the infrastructure that allowed the Taliban and ‘Al-Qaeda’ to allegedly grow in Afghanistan.

But there might be many other reasons for the US presence in Afghanistan. It seems to be now that the US is losing steam in Central Asia, it is losing interest in Afghanistan as well. After the start of President Karzai’s second term, the US government is encouraging peace between the Taliban and Karzai’s government.

The diplomatic relationship between the US and Central Asian states have weakened over the past few years, as Russian and Chinese influence in the region has extensively expanded. The access to resources in these regions for Russia and China has also increased. The military exercises among Russia, China and a number of Central Asian countries have shown success in the last few years. This emerging situation has pushed the US to find a solid base in the Asia/Pacific region.

Continues expansion of economic crisis in United States

Presently, the world largest economy is the United States. According to the dates revealed by US government, its gross domestic product (GDP) for the year 2009 was .266 trillion. But the facts which underline this data reveal a number of changes. For example, the growth of the US’ GDP was -2.4%. The unemployment rate for the year 2010 hovers at double digits, and is currently 9.7%. According to public data available in January 2010, public debt amounted to .28 trillion, which is 84% of the GDP. In the year 2009, the US governments’ revenues was .106 trillion and its expenses came to .515 trillion. It made a huge deficit of .409 trillion. These figures speak to the depth of the crises faced by the US today. In the year 2009, the US had an export value of .057 trillion and an import value of .558 trillion, making the deficit in the current account .501 trillion. The gross external debt of the US was .77 trillion, according to statistics on 30th June 2008. Accordingly, this appears to be the most economically tumultuous time the US has experienced since the Great Depression in the early 1930s.

Now, the US administration must devise new ways of bringing foreign money into the country. At the same time, if they want to reduce the unemployment rate, they have to develop domestic products in agriculture, industrial and service sectors in the US. Under the open liberal economic conditions, they have to developed products which will be able to compete with cheaper products in Brazil, China, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia.

If they want to reduce the difference in the current account, they have to export more products reduce the number of imports. To do so, they will have to compete with the cheaper products of of China, India and technologically developed products of Brazil and other countries like Vietnam.

Clearly, this will be a difficult task. The US is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and they claim it will not be easy to introduce subsidiary schemes for farmers and industries. They have to follow the rules of WTO.

Still the easiest way of earning money in the US is by selling highly developed weapons to their allies. Wars create demand for more weapons. Wars between states that have highly developed weapons would create competition for the acquiring of more sophisticated weaponry. The countries that are under threat of missile attacks would request sophisticated missile defense systems, which are currently produced by the US and Russia. In order to do so, the US has to raise tensions in different regions. Conditions of peace between nations do not make for arms trading opportunities. Indeed, tensions between countries have continually benefited countries like the US in this manner. Simultaneously however, these trends pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the world.

US arms deals with Taiwan despite Chinese objections

Despite the fact that Taiwan is the world’s 15th largest economy, it still hasn’t been recognized as a country. As a result, many countries are reluctant to forge direct diplomatic relationships with Taiwan. They would rather work on their relationships with emerging global leader, China, rather that Taiwan. China has maintained investment friendly economic policies, while keeping a low cost on product economic feasibilities. China’s role in international relations seems to be a neutral or middle way approach. On many occasions, they have been flexible in international relations. Even so, China maintains a strict and rigid policy on Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The government has clearly stated that like Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan is part of China. While the first two countries were handed to them by colonial powers, Taiwan has remainded independent. Even so, the Chinese policy on Taiwan remains the same, and Taiwan is considered to be a part of China.

Until the present ruling party came into power in 2008, consecutive governments in Taiwan had a volatile attitude towards China. This provided a better avenue for the US to strengthen their relationship with Taiwan. The US provided a strong security network in the region. It also provided a number of sophisticated military equipments to the Taiwanese authorities to use against threats that could come from the regional giant, China in the future.

The Defense Security Co-operation Agency has recently announced that the US preparation for sale of military weapons to Taiwan is worth USD 6.4billion. This includes 114 Patriot missiles (.81 billion), 60 Black Hawk helicopters (.1 billion), Communication equipment (0 million), 2 Osprey mine-hunting ships (5 million), 12 Harpoon missiles ( million). The US is supposed to supply another set of F-16 fighter crafts to Taiwan as well.

It is important to note that the military procurement that Taiwan has done over the last few decades from US military aid systems has provided them with a great deal of sophisticated hardware as well as highly expensive aircrafts. The missile defensive system provided to Taiwan, cost more than a billion of Taiwan’s foreign reserves. The comprehensive missile defense system was established to cover South Korea, Japan and Taiwan against the hypothetical attacks of North Korea which are said to be worth billions of dollars. This directly benefits the US economy.

Emerging trends for modernization of South Korean military

The North Korean communiqué which followed the incident made two categorical statements. Firstly, they categorically denied any involvement in the incident, an explanation that they hoped would be acceptable to the international community. Secondly, they accused certain segments of the ruling regime of South Korea, stating that warmongers and puppets of specific sectors of the government were making undue allegations against North Korea so as to raise their war footing in the region.

Cheonan, the sunken ship, was an old ship and there are reports that it hadn’t been checked for maintenance for a few years. This raised the necessity for modernizing equipment. As such, the tensions which have risen after the Cheonan incident lends credence to the idea that the South Korean military must be modernized. For this, South Korea has to depend on US authorities, which creates a number of opportunities for several billions of dollars to be exchanged for military trade. Further South Korea has been encouraged by the US government to relax its rigid policies on trade for the benefit of the US economy.

Responsibility of civil society in the region and international community as whole

It is very clear that the presence of the US in the Asia Pacific region allows them to create extensive military trade with nations in the area. The US is struggling with the deficits in their domestic economy and is losing economic opportunities in the global context due to competitive newcomers such as China, Brazil, India and Vietnam. Meanwhile, the US has to resolve its economic turmoil with internationally accepted maneuvers in international macroeconomic policies. It could be argued that the transference of their economic burdens to formal allies by way of arms deals would be an easy way to counter these difficulties. To do so, they have to use or create different tensions which arise in the region. The time has come for the leaders of people’s movements which have the strength to traverse boundaries to struggle against their governments, and demand that they represent the people’s interests. They must demand a revolutionary revision of governmental policies so as to encourage the betterment of ordinary people above military-government-business deals.

Wars, global economy and responsibility of international community

It is important to remember who will ultimately bear the cost of wars in the modern world. If there is a recession or economic crisis in one country, it is not a problem of just that country. For example, when the Greek economy underwent economic crisis, the Euro was deeply affected as well. Presently, this effect has overflowed to strong European economies, such as Germany and France. The change in the Euro has also affected the US dollar; as a result, we see how a crisis in one country ripples out to affect other countries too.

If there is a war in the Korean peninsula, the countries that would be directly involved and deeply affected would be South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, North Korea, China, the US and Russia. Moreover, there would be direct involvement of member countries of NATO as well. The effect of this war would greatly damage the North and South Korean economies. This setback would not only affect the Korean Republic, but would also hurt the supply of international automobile and electric and electronic and communications equipments as well. It would consume global resources, including raw materials like coal and iron ore. These trends would cause price hikes in the automobile, electric and electronic sectors. It would adversely affect the economies of many Third World countries. Finally, it would affect all major share markets and major economies the world over. The interest rates of all local and international banking sectors would take a hit, as would travel routes, cost of travel and cargo insurance, cost of shipping chargers and security bonds.

These increments in service sectors, irrespective of what is happening in local and international markers, would increase the prices of basic commodities and essential goods, as well as the services of the general public. The question remains: who will bear this burden? Will the governments bear this burden? Ultimately, it is the public, the ordinary tax payers of countries who will be most affected.

Irrespective of where it happens, the cost of war will be a massive economic burden on the world. It will directly affect all those who participate in the world’s highly interrelated global economy. In this particular instance, major weapon producers who can sell their highly developed products to wealthy parties of war would profit greatly from such an endeavor; ultimately, they would gain most from this.

Finally the cost of war irrespective of where it happens would the economic burden to the whole world. That is the direct consequences of these to the inter-related global economy. But in that particular incident the major weapon producers who can sell much of their highly developed weapon to the much reaches belligerent party of the war would earn much more money. At the end of the war they would be the remaining richest in economic context.

This is an important issue for societies of the entire international community. The world must react with responsibility and maturity to the issues at present. In the context of the present world, there are no isolated incidents. Every economic and political happening will have serious immediate and remote consequences that will be borne by all the people of the world. The time has come for impartial investigations to be conducted into the sinking of the Cheonan ship. Who is really behind this incident, and why? This question must be the responsibility of all vigilant civil societies struggling for domestic and international peace and security, and who represent the true movement of the betterment of mankind.

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