Military tensions between South and North Korea, which were heightened dramaticlly by an exchange of artillery fire across their heavily armed border, are unlikely to grow out of control and lead to major clashes, a U.S. expert said Thursday.
The North fired one artillery shell across the border shortly before 4 p.m. local time before firing several more rounds about 20 minutes later. South Korea later responded by firing dozens of shells into the northern side of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.
“Although both the landmine incident and the artillery incident have raised tensions to some degree, I do not think they will lead to a larger conflict,” said Alan Romberg, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington.
“In fact, it seems to me that the North chose actions — importantly aimed at protesting the joint ROK-U.S. exercises now under way — that would be more or less self-contained. Of course, either side could escalate, but I don’t see that as likely,” he said.
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