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"A symphony of death." That's the chilling phrase that Kurt Campbell, who is now Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Obama Administration, once used to describe the likely outcome of any military encounter on the Korean peninsula between the U.S., its ally South Korea and their mutual enemy across the 38th parallel in the North. The possibility of war breaking out once again in Korea is so unthinkable that a lot of people in various military establishments - the Pentagon, South Korea's armed forces and China's People's Liberation Army - actually spend a lot of time thinking about it. The truce between North and South has lasted for 57 years, but a peace treaty has never been signed, and now, in the wake of the North's attack on a South Korean naval vessel - and the South's formal accusation that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo - tensions are at their highest level since 1994, when North Korea threatened to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire."