I commend this report by Charles Hutzler on Chinese and US and Chinese-US preparations for intervention in the DPRK in the event of political and miltary instability there:
"Both Washington and Beijing are growing more anxious about the stability of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang's recent missile and nuclear tests, uncertainty about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the apparent designation of his 26-year-old son as successor. There's much Washington wants to go over with Beijing in a meltdown scenario: securing North Korea's nuclear weapons, dealing with panicked North Koreans overrunning borders and drawing up ground rules to keep the U.S. and Chinese militaries from clashing as they did in the 1950-53 Korean War. . . . The South Korean capital, Seoul, is 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the North Korean border and a tempting target for a dying regime. If North Korea mounts an armed resistance to foreign militaries, a force larger than the U.S. committed to Iraq might be needed, a Council on Foreign Relations study said in January."
I do wonder if I should stop being so assertive with my students considering study or work in the ROK that South Korea is a perfectly safe place for them to travel to.
A good recent article: "Maintaining a Rogue Regime: Kim Jong-il and the North Korean Succession Process"
by Dr. Bruce E. Bechtol Jr.
Marine Corps Command and Staff College