The reaction from the North, when faced with a live-fire artillery drill by South Korean forces on Yeonpyeong island, is predictable. Should the South proceed, a major military conflict cannot be ruled out.
This would spell out the worst scenario resulting from poor political judgment and lack of restraint from both sides. Apart from aimless bravado that may win plaudits from domestic supporters, there is nothing to gain for either side from a confrontation in which millions would suffer.
The US is thus not playing a responsible role. Despite its special envoy being sent to Pyongyang for dialogue, its support of these drills are only pushing North Korea to the edge.
While claiming to be standing guard for the South Korea, the US in fact will do the greatest harm to the South.
The escalation of the Korean crisis is bad news for China or Russia. However, tensions on the peninsula will provide the US, which is to blame for worsening intra-Korean relations, with a perfect excuse to "return to Asia."
It is time to take a closer look at the damaging power of the US role in Northeast Asia. At this critical moment of war and peace, Asian countries need to escape a Cold War mentality and maintain regional interests at heart.
US President Barack Obama has won a Nobel Peace Prize. If a second Korean war should break out during his second term in office, a war he did nothing to prevent, would his aura of peace be shattered?
No matter what China and the US do, the most important objective of all is for South Korea to keep a clear head. Should war break out, the biggest losses would be borne on the South. Despite support from the US and Japan, and sympathy from China and Russia, nobody would take those losses for South Korea. No matter what happens, it is impossible for South Korea to reunite the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea should also be mindful that a war will never fix the country's difficult straits. No matter how objectionable it may view negotiating and building a rapport with other countries, the North has to take this path.
As for China, it does not want to see any major crisis on the Korean Peninsula. But China is never going to bend to any challenge from outside. Should the troubled waters of the peninsula wet China's feet, somebody else may already be drowning.