I have seen so many of these North Korean provocation cycles now that the economic damage to the South caused by them just seems implied any more, but Tom Coyner gives everyone an important reminder in the Joong Ang Ilbo of the economic warfare angle of these North Korean provocations:
Even while working in Bangkok I found myself being asked by journalists, diplomats and others what in blazes (pun intended) is happening in Korea. Is war eminent? Do you worry about your family’s safety in Seoul? And so on .?.?.
But my consistent reply has been that while I am concerned, I’m not at all worried about the North – yet I am very worried about how American pundits and politicians are misreading the overall situation. In real terms, America is not being militarily challenged. But South Korea is under full-scale economic attack.
We are witnessing a groundbreaking example of psychological warfare using the media – both traditional and bleeding edge – to achieve economic and political gains. North Korea has initiated major psychological warfare to damage South Korea’s economy by discouraging foreign direct investment and tourism while constricting movement of foreign economic players. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read the rest of this excellent analysis at the link, but Tom is right that these North Korean provocations do have an economic angle where the North reminds decision makers in the South that if they do not get what they want they do have the ability to effect the South Korean economy.