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North Korea Outcome Is Impossible To Predict

VADUZ, Liechtenstein, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  

North Korea continues to defy the United Nations and openly threaten South Korea and the United States. But despite the escalating rhetoric it remains impossible to predict how this crisis will pan out, says defence and security expert Dr James Jay Carafano.

Dr Carafano, the Washington-based Heritage Foundation's vice president for foreign and defence policy studies tells World Review that limited intelligence means it is hard to determine how the crisis will develop.

" The most we can see is through satellite imagery, or through statements that the North Koreans make," adding that the North Koreans " know this, so they manipulate what we can see in the air and what they publically say to try to poke us."

Analysts have argued that China's diplomatic weight is key to reining in North Korea, and that China is fast losing patience with the rogue state's actions. However, this may not be the case. " One of the great myths is that somehow the Chinese can control North Korea ," he says. " The Chinese are interested in an independent  North Korea   that they think is useful for their geopolitical view of the world. But they can ' t control  North Korea , and they don ' t."

South Korea, on the other hand has sent very strong signals that they will respond if North Korea commits a violent attack on their country. " So there is the potential for escalation here," he adds.

On the other hand, Dr Carafano does not believe that the US flying B2 stealth bombers over South Korea, and sending missile defence systems and radars into the region is a provocative act.

" I think it does send a very strong signal that the North Koreans risk escalation, and I think that ' s more likely to reduce the potential for armed engagement than increase the possibility of conflict," he says.

However, he says, the fact remains that anyone who thinks they can predict where this is going is guessing.

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