Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported what, at first, appears to be continued, blatant aggression by North Korea:
South Korea returned fire twice toward North Korea Wednesday after it said artillery shells fired from the North landed on the southern side of the countries’ sea border near an island Pyongyang attacked last year.
But, the situation is more complex, and viewed as South Korean aggression in Pyongyang. The Northern Limit Line, which the article describes as “the countries’ sea border” was unilaterally drawn by the United States at the end of the Korean War and never accepted by the North. It limits North Korea’s access to fishing grounds, constrains navigation to a major Northern port, and does not meet international norms in other respects as well.
Pretending that the Northern Limit Line is the recognized international boundary between North and South Korea not only fans the danger of a nuclear catastrophe with North Korea. It also fuels China’s concerns that the US is arrogantly asserting military power in its backyard, increasing the risk of a Sino-American crisis – one that would have even greater potential for horrific nuclear consequences.
In business, it is said that a company is in trouble when management starts believing its own B.S. The same applies to countries, and the stakes are much higher. Let’s recognize the Northern Limit Line for what it is, not what our mythology says it is.