Pyongyang has denied involvement in the sinking of a South Korean ship, and warned of 'full-scale war' if new sanctions are imposed, the Yonhap news agency says.
A torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has vowed to take "stern action" against North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship.
First of all, there will be very little in the way of "stern action" against DPRK. Sanctions or otherwise. In fact, I see the attack as more of a reminder to the West that the North still holds a few cards, and that things should just keep ticking over thank you very much.
Second, the quip about "full scale war" coming about from any retaliation is either standard propaganda that officials in the DPRK have to say on TV to save face with the population that still believes they are the good guys, or just the biggest "fuck you, I can sink your boats, kill your sailors and then threaten war... and you still can't do shit!" ever. I'm honestly not sure which one. Perhaps both.
On a side note, would it make any difference whatsoever if DPRK just came out and admitted to doing it? They found the damn torpedo, they know who launched it, surely pretending to bluff isn't actually helping whatever you are trying to do. "Yeah we sank it, what are you going to do?"
One of the few countries so willing to (or at least willing to pretend to) nuke their neighbours that they actively plan for rebuilding their nation after the inevitable retaliation, military action against DPRK should now be considered a no-go zone. Where it was once (before getting nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles) just another "mega-deaths" scenario, it's pretty much gotten the 'get-out-of-invasion-free card', after it fast tracked it's nuclear plans upon hearing it's name on the Axis of Evil list. They know this and probably just sink boats so they can feel smug about the fact.
In fact, all the involved countries know this. They also all most likely know that while the status quo in DPRK isn't going to change, the economic side of things certainly will, and is. In the last years the government has opened up to foreign investment in the form of slave labour camps for hire, and 'special economic zones' in the north of the country, similar to what China had when it was transitioning away from a 'nationalised' economy to a 'privately' owned one. Work is even cheaper in DPRK than in China, and it wont be too long before 'Made in DPRK' will be found on clothing, shoes and plastic shite.
It's just a matter of time before DPRK is like a more rubbish version of China (just like the good old days) in an economic sense, and everyone in the West just has to hold on until that happens. No "stern actions" will be taken; maybe some token threats, or reduced aid, but nothing that would actually destabilise things or seriously upset Kim Jong Il. In the mean time DPRK will shoot shit up just to remind people (their own, most likely) who is still in charge of the country.
Or not a country, depending who you talk to.