South Korea and the US military are conducting military drills around the Korean Peninsular. Their media reports say these are ‘strictly defensive in nature’ – and they are planned to continue until the end of April this year. As a consequence, North Korea has accused Washington of war preparations, especially with the sighting of nuclear-weapons-capable B-52 bombers in the area as part of the ‘defensive’ drills. North Korea has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The media has headlines such as “ North Korea warns of ‘simmering nuclear war’, and tells that the Communist state has cut all direct military contact with South Korea and its foreign ministry has informed the UN Security Council of the latest situation. Indeed dangerous.

“Upon authorisation of the Foreign Ministry, the DPRK openly informs the UN Security Council that the Korean Peninsula now has the conditions for a simmering nuclear war,” the release said. “This is because of provocative moves by the US and South Korean puppets”.

In these precarious circumstances who can tell the repercussions of any incident, however small! The South Korean soldier on guard at the inter-Korea border that threw a grenade at a moving object in the dark early Wednesday and triggered an alarm, that could have been it… everything is so centralised these days and routines are set up – even with checks and balances… and computers are set to take over at certain thresholds…. and then there are mad men at the top.

Yes, mad men – women are largely exempt because they cannot get near the top. A mad man is someone so skewered by his own systemised thinking that he has lost perspective and will push the red button. Totally insane.

It is now widely reported that the North has repeated threats to target US military bases, though it is stated that the technology is not current to North Korea – but who really knows? Anyway the USA has its vassal states that allow military bases for bombing raids hither and thither so what can the local population expect other than to be targeted in problem moments. They are first targets. Of course in Japan it is the Okinawans that have the problems, far away from the main island’s cities.

China, Pyongyang’s only major ally, has stated that the situation was “sensitive”. China, absolutely, does not want this excitement on its border and has nothing to gain from its further complexifying.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Leonid Petrov, a Korea expert at Sydney’s Australian National University, said the North’s “attention-seeking behaviour” is in response to it feeling “cornered” by the international community.

Quoting Al Jazzeera: “The regime wants the people of North Korea to be consolidated behind its young leader Kim Jung-un,” Petrov said.

But Petrov also said he doubts the North will attack first, adding that its capability to target the US remains limited. Still, he warned that if something happens between the North and the US, “definitely Seoul is going to suffer”. On the other hand, Petrov said, the North is also hinting that it is ready to negotiate. “Pyongyang really wants to have a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the growing problem,” he said.

South Korea is in a no win situation. Whatever results, another stalemate or an explosion, the South Koreans can get no joy from their obvious economic success story. How sad. They remain under the threat of the North. There is no other way for both Koreas than to close a deal, with fair negotiations, and for that the USA has to remove its troops.