What could bring the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war

Kim Jong Un (centre) inspecting an artillery fire competition between large combined units of the Korean People's Army on the western front in 2020. – Korean Central News Agency/AFP

SINCE conservative Yoon Suk Yeol became president of South Korea eight months ago, North Korea has drastically increased military provocations. In an incident last month, at least five North Korean drones freely crossed into South Korea’s airspace. One drone infiltrated a no-fly zone surrounding the president’s office. Many South Koreans fear that the North’s heightened aggression is a precursor to a second Korean war.

Putting the Korean fear into perspective leads me to think of what factors may incentivise the North to have a direct military confrontation with the South. There are three factors that could lead to a heightened conflict.

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