Can it be done?
Should it be done?
Will it be done?
Speculate we may but the overwhelming issue is crystal clear. No one in his sane mind would wish for war - knowing the odds and the potential for rapid escalation and outrageous loss of life - but a longstanding question looms larger than ever: what to do if and when NK becomes the full-fledged nuclear power it appears so intent on becoming?
While existing nuclear powers are taken for granted - as it is we assume existing nuclear weapons to be in safe hands (even if we cannot be entirely sure) - NK has drawn oversized attention for its special focus on getting there as well.
Their purpose is also very clear to most, a quest to bully other nations and perpetuate regime survival in the current form. If such a day does dawn, whoever leads the regime might also attempt to blackmail South Korea into reunification on the North's terms.
The stakes are therefore extremely high in Asia's Far East. A catch-22 situation.
Geopolitics there is being kicked around by a single country whose survival has remained assured by its giant neighbour. China could cause NK to collapse in weeks if it so wished.
However, it will only act in the event that it should no longer regard NK as a convenient buffer:
to contain American presence in the peninsula at arm's length,
to keep Japan uneasy on its toes but, barred by its own constitution, hardly able to do much else and, importantly,
to strengthen and advance China's own case, influence and interests in the region.
For China, NK is the convenient State and I don't see how this will change in the near future.