HOW TO COUNTER THE NORTH KOREA THREAT

Fox News on May 15, 2017, published a commentary by Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the US Center for the National Interest on the worsening North Korea situation. Mr. Kazianis presents three recommendations for containing Kim Jong Un’s atomic aspirations. Excerpts below:

The First Korean War—largely forgotten by the American public and the planet—tragically took the lives of 2.5 million people. A potential Second Korean War, with both sides armed with nuclear weapons, could turn cities like Seoul, Tokyo and soon Los Angeles into atomic ash heaps…

…let there be no doubt, Saturday’s missile test won’t be the last. To build a viable nuclear weapons arsenal and missiles to carry them to a target Kim must test them repeatedly.

And despite decades of dramatic ups and downs, patience has paid off for Pyongyang. Even with an economy smaller than Ethiopia, the Kim regime possesses around 12-20 nuclear weapons and can add to that stockpile every six or seven weeks.

Pyongyang has [also] amassed as much as 5,000 tons of chemical weapons and the means to sling them all over Asia. Combined with an army of over 1 million men, 4,300 tanks and thousands of pieces of artillery and rocket launchers that could lob shells into Seoul—a metro area of 25 million people, the most densely populated on the planet—North Korea has all the awful ingredients to start a conflict not seen since the end of World War II.

[The dictator] already murders his own people daily with 200,000 of them in what can only be described as Nazi-style death camps. He has killed any rival that stands in his way, doing whatever it takes to survive.

There are three immediate steps the Trump administration can take to contain North Korea’s atomic aspirations.

First, the U.S. must do all it can to ensure that Pyongyang receives no outside help for its missile or nuclear weapons programs. Tough secondary sanctions should be applied to any country, corporation, bank or person that considers it acceptable to help North Korea build such worrisome weapons. A precedent must be set: if you wish to help the roguest of rogue states build weapons of mass destruction you will pay the highest of prices.

Second, America, along with its allies, must do everything they can to setback the North Korean nuclear and missile programs as much possible while also increasing the costs to develop more advanced technologies. The Trump administration must use cyber technology—malware, viruses etc. …to frustrate North Korea’s scientists at every turn. With various outlets reporting such efforts are likely underway, a top-down review should be conducted to ensure we are fully utilizing cyber against North Korea as much as possible.

Third, and most important, the Trump administration must build up regional and homeland missile defenses to nullify Pyongyang’s growing arsenal. THAAD not only must remain in South Korea but also be deployed to Japan. U.S. missile defense systems in Alaska must also be expanded dramatically—a recent plan by Senator Dan Sullivan calling for a 30 percent increase in interceptors there should be implemented.

Comment: The three steps recommended by Mr. Kazianis would be helpful for curtailing the development of North Korean missiles that can carry nuclear weapons. The main question is however how it is possible for a poor country like North Korea to carry out an extensive nuclear arms program. The only explanation is that it is receiving funds from China. More pressure on the communist regime in Beijing is needed to stop the transfer of funds to North Korea. The United States also has to provide more information on how missile technique is transferred from Iran to North Korea and on the growing North Korean chemical weapons stockpiles.

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