In Matthew 24:6, Jesus Christ prophesied that there would be “wars and rumors of wars” in the latter days just before his second coming. Another “rumor of war” has just surfaced on the Korean Peninsula after a South Korean warship was sunk in a mysterious explosion. After initial denials that North Korea could have been involved, later investigation has pointed to the possibility that “North Korea may have deliberately directed an underwater mine toward the South Korean warship” (see first link below).

Some reports have wondered if an old Korean-War era mine planted by the North Koreans might have sunk the South Korean ship. While possible, that seems like a stretch to me. That proposal may have been floated as a way to avoid an open war between North Korea and South Korea over the incident. If a rusty, almost six-decade old mine can easily sink a modern South Korean warship, the South Korea’s warships must be made of tin cans to be so vulnerable. If a modern South Korean warship has no chance of surviving an encounter with an aging 60-year-old technology, then they certainly have no chance of surviving an attack by weapons made with modern technologies. Indeed, modern warships have sophisticated detection systems to locate torpedoes, mines, etc. If it was an old “dumb” mine, why didn’t the South Korean warship easily detect its presence and avoid it? If it was a mine which sunk the ship, the mine must have had modern countermeasures built into it to avoid detection by modern defensive electronic defensive systems. This raises the possibility that North Korea may have “tested” a new mine designed by China to avoid detection by western electronic countermeasures.

If it is proven that North Korea deliberately sunk the South Korean warship with a modern mine, South Korea will be all but required to respond with an act of war of its own against North Korea to save face.  As the links note, these two nations are still technically in a state of war which was merely suspended by an armistice when the Korean War ended. Given that high state of tension, it would not take much of a spark to start an open war. You can be sure the USA will do all it can to prevent such a war from occurring. The USA is bound by treaty to defend South Korea in any such war, and the USA has virtually no troops to send to reinforce the South Korean/American forces stationed in South Korea. North Korea is also a rather unpredictable nation and it has rudimentary nuclear weapons. If the unthinkable occurred and North Korea used a nuclear weapon against South Korea, the USA would be duty-bound to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons (especially if American troops perished in  North Korean nuclear strike).

However, there is one wild card to consider. China may actually want a limited conventional war somewhere to field-test a variety of its latest weaponry against American and western technologies while staying out of the fighting. Such a war would be a logical precursor to a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. A client state like North Korea would serve as an ideal guinea pig for a limited war in which China could surreptitiously test some of its latest weaponry.

Most likely, this will blow over. However, North Korea is a member of the Gog-Magog alliance prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and South Korea is one of the “young lion” (i.e. “young tigers” in the modern press) nations prophesied to not be part of the Gog-Magog alliance. A certain number of “rumored wars” will actually develop into shooting wars in the latter days. The USA is very unready to take on another war, and China is well-aware of that fact.