North Korea: We are Ready to Strike the U.S. Mainland With Missiles
March 29, 2013 1:17 PM
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
, 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."
[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 bombers fly over South Korea earlier this week. [Image Source: Sin Young-Keun/Yonhap]
Designed by Northrop Grumman Corp. (
), 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".
, "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
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
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
in an interview, "U
nless 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.
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