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Mattis seeks to tone down talk of war on Korean border

October 27, 2017

Katrina Manson

“There’s an element of charade and play acting,” said Dennis Blair, the former US commander of Pacific forces, adding that the two sides even compete to have the highest pole to bear their national flag. But such farce masks real risks.

Admiral Blair, who also served as President Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, recalled how minor miscalculations along the border have sparked deadly confrontations in the past. The risk is even greater now North Korea has tested its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles and its most powerful nuclear device yet, which Pyongyang says is a hydrogen bomb.

Tensions have soared — notably between Mr Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, whom the US president has dubbed “Little Rocket Man”, even as relations between Washington and Seoul grew strained.

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