China’s objectives in the Asia-Pacific are served by having a “bad boy” in the neighborhood. Constant, high-level tensions emanating from Pyongyang keep the U.S. and allied military and strategic focus on the anachronistic regime in the North, allowing China to place the balance of its strategic efforts elsewhere. While not necessarily desiring war, China may calculate that a damaging war on the peninsula – up to and including nuclear strikes on Seoul, Tokyo, Guam, Hawaii, or even the United States itself – could potentially change the relative balance of power in Beijing’s favor.Sponsored Ads
We must be clear-sighted about Beijing’s potential motivations, and not avoid “thinking the unthinkable” with respect to what an imminent North Korean nuclear breakout means for the Asia-Pacific region. At the core of our current strategy appears to be tacit acceptance of at least a rudimentary North Korean nuclear capability. We tolerate the North Koreans hoping the Chinese will finally bring the Hermit Kingdom to heel, restraining Pyongyang until the regime eventually collapses on its own accord.
North Korea’s 950,000-troop military remains dangerous as Pyongyang’s long-range Taepodong-2 missile can reach parts of the United States with a nuclear warhead, according to a Pentagon report made public on Thursday.
The report said North Korea’s Taepodong-2, last used as a satellite launcher, is continuing to be developed as a long-range missile. The missile “could reach parts of the United States if configured as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear payload,” the 26-page report says.
A new Pentagon assessment of Iran’s military power maintains that in two years time, Iran could flight-test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States, given “sufficient foreign assistance”, is provided to Tehran. The new assessment reiterated a longstanding estimate of the U.S. intelligence community. Iran could test such a missile by 2015 with assistance from nations like North Korea, China or Russia. Pyongyang is already in the process of developing the KN-08, an extended range ballistic missile that can reach the US West Coast. The missile’s range could be extended to provide the missile an intercontinental strike capability. Pyongyang and Tehran have been collaborating and exchanging technologies regarding ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons for many years; both countries are seeking to match the two technologies to acquire nuclear weapons delivery capabilities. U.S. experts agree that North Korea and Iran could be capable of developing and testing few ICBM class missiles based on liquid propellants, but doubt they could acquire solid-propelled weapons in the near future. The lengthy pre-flight procedures required for fuelling liquid-propelled missiles means that such weapons cannot be mass-fired without warning, as the shorter range missiles could, therefore, providing the defender time to respond, employ missile defense or conduct preemptive attack.
The Kims’ treatment of their own people has been just as monstrous—condemning millions to privation and death while diverting the nation’s wealth to build the world’s fourth-largest army and spending billions on nuclear and missile programs in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions. With the entire country effectively a prison, the government operates scores of special gulags where hundreds of thousands routinely face forced labor, torture, rape, forced abortion, starvation, and death without charge or trial.
Throughout the six decades of this grotesquely despotic rule, the People’s Republic of China has stood steadfastly behind the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, proudly proclaiming their “lips and teeth” relationship and protecting it from meaningful international sanctions. It was one thing for Mao Zedong’s revolutionary China to join Pyongyang in its invasion of South Korea. But how can modern China, an aspiring superpower that demands the world’s respect, associate itself so intimately with a universally despised thugocracy?
The answer is that China’s Communist leaders are not easily shocked by North Korean behavior that mirrors their own governance not so long ago. Even today, despite decades of Western engagement, Beijing’s authoritarian rule and external aggressiveness reflect a value system and worldview that is in many ways closer to Pyongyang’s than to the West’s.
What North Korea teaches us about China is that China is run by monsters too. The US has no business trading with such a regime. The only thing the US should be doing is building more nuclear tipped missiles and pointing them at China.
China’s top general said Monday that a fourth North Korean nuclear weapons test is a possibility that underscores the need for fresh talks between Pyongyang and other regional parties.
Chief of the General Staff Gen. Fang Fenghui said Beijing firmly opposes the North’s nuclear weapons program and wants to work with others on negotiations to end it. He said Beijing’s preference is for a return to long-stalled disarmament talks involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S.
U.S. intelligence officials assessing North Korea’s recent bellicose statements are increasingly concerned that Kim Jong-un could use his limited nuclear arsenal as part of offensive military attack that would be calculated to improve the prospects for reunifying the country rather suffering a collapse of his regime.
According to officials familiar with unclassified assessments, the North Korean leader and his military hampered by economic sanctions and a declining conventional military force remain paranoid about a U.S. military offensive.
The regime is also growing increasingly worried that China will not support its fraternal communist ally and so could calculate that it must launch a military attack. Pyongyang also fears the Chinese will replace the Kim family dynasty with a pro-China puppet regime.
Launching a war might present China with a reunified Korean Peninsula, then North Korea could seek Beijing’s support for negotiating a settlement to civil war.
Mr. Kim may take a page from his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, who launched the Korean War in part because he feared losing power.
The Korean peninsula could become very susceptible to war should the US be unable or unwilling to protect South Korea. The article suggests we might not have to wait that long.
Note the concept here: Leaders will put their people through hell if they fear losing power. If it is in their best interest, leaders will cause the suffering and deaths of millions.
Which other countries might be in a boat similar to North Korea?
While not as obvious, it is China and Russia who have a similar problem. Their problems are building. Their legitimacy is being threatened. Their days might become numbered. Should they sit around and wait for a revolution and death, or do something before that happens? Also, what happens if the other side gives them a really good excuse?
Prudence and common sense appear to be absent in the Obama administration and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who during the current crisis with North Korea, falsely reassure the American people that Pyongyang cannot deliver on its threats to make a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland.
North Korea could deliver a nuclear bomb in the hold of a freighter under a foreign flag to destroy a U.S. port city such as New York or Los Angeles. They could give a bomb to terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or Hezbollah to deliver by truck or plane across the porous U.S. border. They could use a false-flagged freighter to move a Scud or their medium-range Nodong missile close enough to make a nuclear strike on the U.S. mainland.
What about North Korea’s claim that it has long-range nuclear missiles that can strike the United States right now? If our current crop of leaders is as prudent as were President Dwight Eisenhower and Sen. Lyndon Johnson in 1957, they would warn the American people that North Korean nuclear threats to the U.S. heartland may be real.
Having successfully extracted payoffs so consistently through threats and occasional attacks, the North is naturally at it again. Even though another nuclear test and the threatened launch of a mobile long-range ballistic missile appear imminent, a payoff from the South, not war on the Korean Peninsula, is the likely outcome. And Pyongyang knows this.
Meanwhile, South Korea has matched the North’s bellicosity with its own strategic perversity: It remains obsessed with an utterly unthreatening Japan and has been purchasing air power to contend with imagined threats from Tokyo as opposed to the real ones just north of the demilitarized zone. Seoul is simply unwilling to acquire military strength to match its vastly superior economy. Instead, it spends billions of dollars to develop its proudly “indigenous” T-50 jet fighters, Surion helicopters, and coastal defense frigates — alternatives for which could be much better, and cheaper, imported from the United States. Meanwhile, gaping holes remain in South Korean defenses (and thus we see the ridiculous spectacle of last-minute scrambling for missing equipment and munitions in the present crisis). And the cycle continues: Because the South allows itself to remain so vulnerable, it cannot react effectively against North Korea’s perpetual threats and periodic attacks. Instead, Seoul checks its bank account and gets ready for the next payoff.
It’s time for this to end. …
This is a glimpse of the disfunctionality coming out of South Korea. How much longer than this nation exist? While quite a few South Koreans do not like America, they lump their lives on America for defense. And they buy off North Korea as the problem only continues to grow. Is that real smart?
What is going to happen to America’s allies when America is no longer there to protect them?
U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have identified the launch zone on North Korea’s east coast where Pyongyang’s military is set to fire a salvo of missiles that risk being shot down by U.S. missile defenses in the region.
The North Koreans recently began fueling two road-mobile Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles located along the east coast between the cities of Wonsan and Hamhung, according to intelligence officials.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in addition to the 2,500-mile-range Musudans the North Koreans could conduct test firings of several 620-mile-range Nodong missiles and shorter-range Scuds simultaneously as a way to thwart U.S. missile defenses.