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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Cheehyung Kim
Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Tuesday delivered a firm counterpunch to a wave of antagonistic rhetoric and nuclear threats by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, vowing that the U.S. is prepared to "do what is necessary" to defend itself and its longtime allies South Korea and Japan.
Cheehyung Kim, a North Korea analyst and historian at Duke University, said the nation's history and domestic politics have placed significant pressure on Kim Jong-un to "establish his legitimacy in the eyes of North Korea's ruling class."
He said the situation stands apart from another incident that raised global tensions in 2010, when the military forces of Kim Jong-il carried out a surprise and deadly submarine attack that sank a South Korean naval ship and fired more than 150 artillery rounds at Yeonpyeong Island, where South Korean military forces are stationed.