- REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Despite intense saber rattling between the US and North Korea, experts told Business Insider that all intelligence coming from the Hermit Kingdom indicates it’s not getting ready for war and that doing so would be catastrophic for it.
“Yes there’s a lot of statements going back and forth that are escalating tensions, but in the real world on the ground in North Korea, and I suspect in South Korea, life goes on,” Joel Wit, a senior fellow at US-Korea Institute who previously worked on North Korea policy at the State Department, said on a call with reporters organized by 38 North.
Wit said satellite imagery of North Korea just wasn’t showing the drumbeat of war playing out for normal citizens. Foreigners haven’t fled. Workers haven’t been pulled from factories, and even the media remains calm and focused on the economy.
Additionally, though North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may posture as though he’s ready to fight within hours, the timing is particularly difficult for him.
“We’re now entering the season in North Korea where we’re going to see the starting of harvesting crops,” Wit said. If North Korea had to go into defensive lockdown, he added, there would be a “serious impact on food collection, and then food distribution, then after that, food availability.”
So Kim faces what appears to be a relatively easy choice: initiate a conflict he is sure to lose, and let his people starve, or continue with business as usual while maintaining his usual brash propaganda.