With Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launches with ranges well over 4000 kms, claims of a successful test of an H Bomb, and threats to attack US territory and others, is this an extravagant North Korean bluff, or something we need to take very seriously?

Whatever we think of Kim Jong Un, it should be noted that, thus far, he has done exactly what he said he would do, except yet attack the US.

The International Community have appeared somewhat complacent over the N Korea nuclear capabilities hitherto, despite the claims by their ‘glorious leader’ Kim Jong Un.  Until relatively recently we mostly believed his nuclear threat was an Atomic device and his missile capability was not ICBM, and old with short range and a limited payload.

Now it seems he may have an A bomb of a size, possibly yielding 20 KT (20,000 tonnes of TNT equivalent), which could be fitted to an ICBM with a range of 4000Kms plus.  This brings Guam, Japan and many others in range.  It is the many others which really worry me.  Guam, Seoul, and Japan have effective missile defence systems and the ’others’ do not.  There is some mythological speculation that these missile defence systems might trigger a nuclear reaction – this they will not.  For a Fission device, the A Bomb or a Fusion device, the H Bomb, a chain reaction is required at around 500ft to detonate the device.  THAADS and other missile defence systems work at much higher altitudes before this can happen.

Though N Korea’s apparent possession of an A bomb is a concern, an H Bomb is an altogether more terrifying prospect. A 20KT A-bomb would demolish several blocks in a major city.  A similar size H-bomb could yield 1000KTs and devastate a whole city.  However, the science and technical capability to produce an H Bomb is also significantly more challenging.  Nevertheless, on current performance N Korea could achieve this relatively soon, if not prevented by diplomatic or military means.  In comparison the WW2 bomb recently found in Germany was a mere 1.5 Tonnes but required nearly 60,000 people to be evacuated from Frankfurt whilst is was made safe.

No paths at the moment appear effective or attractive.  Given that, can the International community accept a nuclear capable N Korea?

One should not forget it is the N Koreans who built the Syrian Regime nuclear capability which was eventually destroyed by Israeli jets in 2005.  One should not forget also, that only recently the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) intercepted two N Korean ships destined for the Syrian Regime containing chemical weapons and the wherewithal to make more; and they murdered Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpa with the deadly nerve agent VX, of which they apparently have 5000 tonnes more.

Whatever the motivation is for Kim Jong Un to have a nuclear capability, be it credibility on the world stage, or expansion, it cannot be allowed to persist.  For one thing, his ability to give other despots and terrorists WMD leads to the horrific prospect of ISIS acquiring these weapons in return for much needed hard cash; they [ISIS] would have no scruples in using it and possibly more difficult for the US et al to interdict than the current crisis.

There appear to be no good solutions, but if diplomacy fails, which must be given a good run by all, especially Russia and China, there must be a plan to destroy this capability militarily for the sake of humankind and future generations.

We need to take this threat very seriously indeed – it will not go away overnight if we sleep on it.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

5 Comments on "North Korea: To Bomb, Or Not To Bomb?"

  1. Hamish, I don’t share your optimism about the level of protection afforded by current missile defence options available in the far east I’m afraid and that includes THAAD. THAAD has only been tested against IRBM’s once, as recently as late July, on that occasion the test involved a single missile. Apart from the fact that the crew were not warned of the test time in advance, very little else is known about the parameters of the test. What would happen if N Korea launched multiple dummy missiles first?, the number of interceptors available on the THAAD system is limited. What if N Korea launches a sub based missile (which they have recently been testing) behind the THAAD radar screen?

    On the subject of whether to strike against Korea or not, I believe discretion is the better part of valour in this instance. Firstly look at what Global Times, China’s state owned international paper had to say in it’s editorial on 11th August

    ‘If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.’

    So major US strikes on Korea have a high probability of sparking a war with China. The carnage and economic chaos that that would cause is in itself reason enough not to intervene. Such a war would also have a knock on effect of reviving Russia’s economy as they would become China’s main supplier of oil, minerals and arms, it would leave Ukraine and the Baltic states completely vulnerable to any Russian moves as US military force would completely tied up fighting China.

    Even if China did sit on it’s hands, there is the risk that strikes against N Korea would simply cause them to use the nuclear weapons they have spent so much time developing, after all if you developed them to deter a US attack, not using them when attacked by the US would seem to defeat the object of the exercise. Can the US guarantee it knows of all DPRK nuclear sites?, can it guarantee it can knock them all out simultaneously?, even if it can it can’t possibly protect the citizens of Seoul from massed artillery attack.

    • Hamish de Bretton-Gordon | 8th September 2017 at 1:46 pm | Reply

      Rob, I agree with all you say but if N Korea is allowed to get the H Bomb it will have the capability to flatten, London, Paris, New York etc with a single missile. This might be appealing to KJU? China holds the key here, as Putin does in Syria. lets hope they turn it in the right direct!

      • It very much depends on what your take on KJU is Hamish. If you believe he is unhinged and wouldn’t balk at what would be a suicidal act, then of course you will view this as a substantial risk. If on the other hand you view him as a cold calculating despot, obsessed with clinging on to power, then it becomes something that is very unlikely. I lean heavily towards the latter and so view the risk of a wider conflict as worse than the threat that he represents. If you take the former view I do of course understand your position on military action.

  2. There is an unspoken – or at least lesser spoken of alternative.

    The US in secret moves agrees to a complete phased withdrawl from South Korea. It agrees to work on an economic level with China for a unified Korea. Both the US+free world (aid + rebuilding) and China – (Men, machines, aid, peacekeeping, might) agree on a topple plan and post topple recovery.

    China puts a full throat clamp on the regime, blocks all oil and other supplies to NK, carrying out a 6 month choke hold on the NK state.

    China then invades North Korea and working with South Korea forms a governance and recovery zone in the North.

    South Korea, the US and free world, and China would have to find some method of working out a plan. The US would largely leave, China would get a reduction of US influence, Korea would have a painful re-unification with some Chinese influence, and North would have to go through a rehabilitation of very large magnitude.

    And in doing this the world will uncover the true horrors of the camps and holocaust, terror, poverty, and misery that exist in NK, and will later critique itself on why it never acted sooner.

  3. North Korea should be stopped but it sadly wont by the way things are looking.

    * Liberals in control of South Korea government are heavily opposed to any military action and may in fact prevent the US from launching strikes without it’s permission. That will be digging their own grave with a US capitulation to a nuclear armed North as the DPRK’s goal is exactly this then bully the south into submission and eventual “re-unification”.

    * China likes the DPRK as a distraction for the USA but long term doesn’t like the thought of re-unification under the Norths terms, no matter it’s willing to go along and deal with Korea as a long term threat not an immediate one and preferable to a Korea united by the South.

    * Anti-Trump hysteria in western media, this showdown has been brewing for some time, Trumps got nothing to do with it in a sense but none the less the media will not go along with a war “started by trump” in their eyes.

    The DPRK was also selling MANPADS to militants in Syria, old out of date ones that couldn’t hit more modern Russian aircraft but it shows how ruthless and dangerous the regime is, if the DPRK gets a nuclear shield they will sow chaos across the world for anyone who has the cash.

Leave a comment

favorites.png
Comments are moderated before they are published. Please consider if you're contributing to the discussion before you post. Abuse and general negativity will not be allowed to appear on the site. This might be the Internet but let's try to keep things civil.
 

Your email address will not be published.


*


*