Top diplomats from the ROK and Japan are headed for Washington for trilateral talks on Monday, meaning that the three countries are laying aside the possibility of Six-Party Talks and trying to solve the problem through a new approach. Developments have put China in an awkward position as the host country of the Six-Party Talks.
According to an opinion poll, about 70 percent of the people in the ROK now support a tough policy toward the DPRK, and some political figures who earlier favored the "sunshine policy" have changed their stance.
With both sides sticking to their tough policies, the danger of confrontation has increased greatly. In the past, the DPRK threatened to launch a "total war", "nuclear war" or "set Seoul on fire" to vent its anger at the way it had been treated by the ROK, the US and Japan.
It's true, neither side wants a war, but with little buffer space for leaders of the DPRK and the ROK, the danger of a military conflict is increasing.