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North Korea's Civil War Could Spill Over Into Regional Conflict
NEWS 10/06/2039 7:53 AM ET
North Korea's Civil War Could Spill Over Into Regional Conflict

Peter Carver
Huntington Courier East Asian Foreign Affairs Editor

CC BY-SA 4.0 Image by 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Joe Barr headshot by Aimee Custis Photography by Aimee Custis Photography | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
A K-55 self-propelled artillery vehicle, belonging to one of the warring North Korean factions.
In the latest sign of Pentagon concern over the civil war engulfing North Korea, the White House has signalled that a second aircraft carrier will head to the troubled region.

The USS John F. Kennedy, accompanied by cruiser USS Vella Gulf and destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, are en route from Sydney and are scheduled to arrive next Wednesday, said Secretary of Defense James McGriff, speaking today from the White House.

"We remain extremely concerned at the events unfolding in North Korea. We are adding to our capabilities in the region by assigning the John F. Kennedy to assist in monitoring and if necessary, responding to any North Korean aggressive gestures directed outside the Korean peninsula."

Secretary McGriff added that the remainder of John F. Kennedy's Carrier Strike Group will continue to patrol the Persian Gulf, monitoring the deteriorating situation in Saudi Arabia.

All United States forces in Pacific Command were upgraded to DEFCON 3 last Thursday when the first shots were reported in the conflict in North Korea. South Korean and Japanese units are also on a heightened state of alert, while Chinese forces are understood to be at their highest state of readiness.

Turmoil in the hermit nation has been under a global spotlight since leader Kim Jong Un was reported killed in a helicopter crash. Rumors have persisted that foul play was involved.

Kim Jong Un's time as the third Kim in charge of the repressive regime was marked by privation among the Korean people amid crippling economic sanctions. He was however, known for his grandiosity and personal extravagance, often importing luxury consumer goods at great expense.

Reports swirled in 2026 that he ordered the purge of much of his senior military staff in what has come to be known as "The Great Betrayal". Those charged with disloyalty were reportedly executed in a variety of ways suiting the whim of the famously capricious leader.

After Kim's death two weeks ago, South Korean intelligence reported that rival generals Ro Seung Woo and Wu Sung Jin began amassing support from among the Supreme People's Assembly and by attempting to coax various military units to join with them.

North Korea's military equipment is widely understood to be extremely dated. However, its standing army of 1.5 million men is one of the largest in the world.
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