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Defense experts say North Korea's claims are purely bombastic and delusional

Kim Jung-Un, supreme ruler of North Korea (NK) and son of late dictator Kim Jong-Il, loves Dennis Rodman and American culture, but he hates the American government after they cut off his imports of luxury items due to his insistence on nuclear weapons development.  Now the dictator's bipolar attitude towards the U.S. has seemingly taken, with Mr. Jung-Un scrapping a six decades old armistice with America and South Korea (SK).

I. Kim Jung-Un: "We Should Mercilessly Strike the U.S. Mainland"

In an appearance on the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the young dictator is pictured leafing through documents surrounding by four military officials.  Behind him is a map of his plans to "attack" the U.S. with missile strikes.  The map indicates missile trajectories stretching from NK to the continental U.S.

The KCNA report describes recent stealth bomber tests over South Korea by the U.S. as "an ultimatum that they (the United States) will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula."

attack plans

(closeup 1)
attack plans (2/3)

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attack plans (3/3)
[Image Source: KCNA/Reuters (Top), bottom images modified by James Pearson of NK News]

The report continues, "If [South Korea and the U.S.] make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, (we) should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea."

II. Tensions Escalate

The threat is the latest in a series of jabs between the U.S. and the defiant Asian military dictatorship.  Following its decision to scrap the armistice, the U.S. conducted war games in SK.  NK responded by cutting a key phone line used as one of the only diplomatic channels between the North and the South.

In an apparent response to the line cutting, the U.S. proceeded with a test of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers over North Korea, which according to U.S. Forces Korea "demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will."

B-2 fly over
B-2 bombers fly over South Korea earlier this week. [Image Source: Sin Young-Keun/Yonhap]

Designed by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), the B-2 is a fearsome weapon far beyond anything in North Korea's arsenal.  Its specialty is in standoff missiles (cruise or short-range ballistic) -- missiles that are launched at distance to avoid counterattacking fire.  The B-2 is the only known aircraft capable of engaging in standoff missile strikes while in stealth mode (most nations use ships for this purpose).  The bomber has a crew of two and carries up to eighty 500 lb (230 kg)-class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs.

Despite the back and forth Pentagon spokesman George Little called on NK to "dial the temperature down", accusing the nation of engaging in cycles of "provocative behavior".

He told CNN, "No one wants there to be war on the Korean Peninsula, let me make that very clear....  We have to deal with them. We have to be sober, calm, cool, collected about these periods. That's what we're doing right now.  And we are assuring our South Korean allies day to day that we stand with them in the face of these provocations."

China echoed the desire for peace, despite its growing frustration with its ally NK.  Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that peace was a "joint responsibility, remarking, "We hope relevant parties can work together to turn around the tense situation in the region."

III. Despite Helping Hand From Iran, Danger Remains Low, Experts Say

After several failed tests, North Korea did succeed last year in launching a rudimentary ballistic missile into space.  The key appears to be support from Iran; sources say that shipments from Iran have been headed to NK and Reuters reported that Iranian observers were present at the December rocket launch.  Some reports indicate that North Korea may have paid Iran nearly $1.3B USD for its engineering expertise, allowing it to turn around its floundering missile program.

North Korea has also been successful in conducting small-scale nuclear bombs tests.  

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, NK's February's nuclear test measured "approximately several kilotons" while the first nuclear test in 2006 was under 1 kiloton and the second in 2009 was about 2-7 kilotons.  Those bombs would likely be capable of causing significant damage if they reached a populated area, but are smaller than the 16- and 21-kiloton explosives that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (respectively) at the close of WWII.

North Korea's nuclear weapons are about 1/2 to 1/3 the size of the nuclear bomb the U.S. used on Hiroshima in WW II [pictured].

Since WWII, there has been no nuclear act of war.

North Korea may have the ability, theoretically to strike at the U.S. mainland, at least before you consider interceptor capabilities.  However, defense experts say a successful strike on the U.S. by the hostile Asian nation is unlikely.  

ames Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of IHS Jane's Defense Weekly told CNN in an interview, "Unless there has been a miraculous turnaround among North Korea's strategic forces, there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed."

Accuracy would be a likely issue, should North Korea attempt such an act of war.

Thus far the hostilities have not resulted in any direct violence.  However, digitally the nations are already at war in cyberspace. North Korea has been engaged in a war of cyber-attacks in recent weeks with the U.S. and its ally South Korea.

Sources: KCNA, CNN

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RE: Seriously?
By Bubbacub on 3/29/2013 3:48:27 PM , Rating: 3
what planet are you on?


global conflict?

a global conflict kind of requires some/all of the major global powers to start a war.

the days of major armies invading one another to enslave another's population are over. there is just no profit in that kind of enterprise anymore.

no one is interested in pulling this kind of crap anymore - not the usa, not the uk/france, not russia, not india and not china.

the global agenda is to make money, drive a fat 4x4, have central heating and play xbox.

the only kind of conflict that could arise are small wars against crackpot dictatorships that can be fought in civilised fashion, trying to minimise civilian casualties with free fluffy bunnies and chocolate for the local children.

if any of these crackpot dictatorships starts throwing nukes - all that will be left is a small smoking radioactive crater - all these crackpot dictatorships know this and thus nothing is likely to happen.

HOWEVER - in our soft modern society there is money to be made by generating fear, uncertainty and doubt - if this (and the prospect of obama suceeding in restricting gun usage) causes a change in the price of ammunition then so be it. i wouldnt read too much into it from a global geopolitical point of view.

RE: Seriously?
By JediJeb on 3/29/2013 9:04:16 PM , Rating: 1
the days of major armies invading one another to enslave another's population are over. there is just no profit in that kind of enterprise anymore.

Hitler didn't invade most of Europe for profit, heck he destroyed a lot of the infrastructure that was profitable. Just as with him, there are still rulers with delusions of grandeur or just plain evil power lust who would not blink an eye at invading their neighbors if they thought they could win.

If the rest of the world ever said they would not back Israel you can bet their surrounding neighbors would be invading soon after the news broke.

Do not forget the lesson of WWI, where the whole world became involved in war when an assassination of a small countries Arch Duke ignited war among the other larger countries. Just as it was back then when tension had been building for decades, right now there are tensions that could be precursors to something similar. If someone attacks Iran, and Iran tells Russia they will cut off their supply of oil if they do not help them, it could easily escalate into something major. Iran gets upset with Israel if they do make a preemptive strike on their nuke program, the US gets involved to protect Israel from Iran's counter strike, Iran gets Russian involved or Iran's partner North Korea gets a wild hair and decides to just let it fly and nuke South Korea no matter the consequences. Where could that lead?

China if they were smart would simply wipe out North Korea to become the hero of the world, then threaten Iran to make them back off, which could fix their position as world leader over even Russia and the US. Or they can try to let loose with their military on everyone hoping to use power to claim the major position of world power. The decision there would depend on whether deep seated nationalism and pride along with lust for power would win over cool, calm decisive playing of the cards to improve their global standing.

no one is interested in pulling this kind of crap anymore - not the usa, not the uk/france, not russia, not india and not china. the global agenda is to make money, drive a fat 4x4, have central heating and play xbox.

we can't even get kids to stop bullying other kids when they believe they can win the fight, what makes us think that our leaders are free from such emotions. People in positions of power, most often like that feeling of power and if not very careful it can lead to less than rational thinking.

Don't be so quick to rule out the possibility that some small action somewhere in the world could unleash the worst of peoples actions.

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