Editor’s note: Andrew Salmon is a South Korea-based freelance journalist and author who has written two books on the Korean war. Below, he envisages a hypothetical, worst-case scenario of potential conflict on the Korean peninsula. CNN is not suggesting that war is imminent or even likely, but the possibility of conflict is one scenario that military strategists must consider given recent heightened tensions.
Seoul (CNN) – It’s Asia’s nightmare scenario: War breaking out on the Korean peninsula.
With Korea lying at the heart of Northeast Asia, the world’s third largest zone of economic activity after Western Europe and North America, experts say global capital markets would suffer devastating collateral damage, but the catastrophic loss of human life — and potential nuclear fallout — would be far, far worse.
Fortunately, no analysts believe “Korean War II” is imminent; the armistice ending the 1950-53 conflict that buried millions continues to hold, despite North Korea’s nullification in March. And with regime maintenance Pyongyang’s paramount policy, few think it would risk an attack.