We start a discussion on an issue making headlines.
North Korea's recent barrage of sharp rhetoric and threats towards the South came to a head this week when the North blew up the inter-Korean contact office.
The regime has already rejected the idea of talking it out with an envoy from the South, only churning out more and more threats to take further military action.
It's always hard to read into what's going on inside the regime with the limited information we have. But many suspect it's going through a particularly difficult time, leading it to lash out against South Korea.
To discuss just what is going on, what North Korea is hoping to gain and whether Seoul and Washington will stand for it, I'm joined by Ramon Pacheco-Pardo, Reader of Int'l Relations at Kings College London and Chair of the Korea Foundation at the Freedom University of Brussel, and Fmr Lieutenant General of the Republic of Korea Army Chun In-bum, who was also the Commander of the Special Warfare Command.
Dr. Pacheco Pardo: What do you think has caused this flare up of verbal abuse and aggression towards the South? What do you think North Korea is trying to get South Korea to do?
General Chun: Kim Yo-jong has been very vocal in recent weeks, while we haven't heard much from her brother. What does this tell us about her position in the regime is she solidifying her status as the regime's number two? (+ What do you think is going on with Kim Jong-un? Do you think there's some truth to the rumors that he's ill?
Dr. PP: The same question for you. What do you think is going on with the Kim siblings?
General Chun: North Korea told the South not to bother sending an envoy to Pyeongyang and has even been personally insulting President Moon Jae-in which many thought they would never do. Aren't they just shooting themselves in the foot by breaking off ties? What is their strategy?
General Chun: North Korea says it will resume military drills near the Military Demarcation Line the MDL. What would this look like and how big of a threat would this pose to the South Korean side?
Dr. PP: The Moon administration has responded in a firmer way than before, and has sent Lee Do-hoon to Washington, as I mentioned. Do you think the North will eventually back down or agree to dialogue?
General Chun: The same question goes to you. Will North Korea back down and what actions do you hope to see from the governments of South Korea and the U.S.?
This is where we have to wrap up the discussion today. Thank you for joining us Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo in London and Retired Lieutenant General Chun In-bum in Seoul.