(Update) One step closer to a renewed war with North Korea

Kim Jong-un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us” –President Donald Trump at his recent Phoenix campaign rally.

This is how much North Korea respects the belicose paper tiger of Donald Trump. In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet:

North Korea sharply raised the stakes in its stand-off with the rest of the world Sunday, detonating a powerful nuclear device that it claimed was hydrogen bomb that could be attached to a missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.

Even if Kim Jong Un’s regime is exaggerating its feats, scientific evidence showed that North Korea had crossed an important threshold and had detonated a nuclear device that was exponentially more powerful than its last — and almost seven times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Tensions had already been running high, with Kim repeatedly defying international condemnation and increasingly blunt warnings by President Trump and continuing to launch ballistic missiles.

But Sunday’s blast — North Korea’s sixth nuclear test but the first since Trump took office — could escalate those tensions to a new level.

China on Sunday said it “resolutely opposes and strongly condemns” the launch, adding to denunciations from South Korea and Japan.

The nuclear device that North Korea tested appeared to be so large that Vipin Narang, an expert on nuclear proliferation and strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called it a “city buster.”

“Now, with even relatively inaccurate intercontinental ballistic missile technology, they can destroy the better part of a city with this yield,” Narang said.

North Korea’s latest nuclear test took place at exactly noon local time at its Punggye-ri testing site and was recorded as a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey. It was followed eight minutes later by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake that appeared to be a tunnel collapsing at the site.

Japan immediately sent up sniffer planes to try to measure radiation levels.

North Korean state media said that the test was carried to test “the accuracy and credibility” of its “H-bomb to be placed at the payload of the ICBM.” North Korea tested its intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time in July, and its second test later the same month showed the rocket could theoretically reach Denver or Chicago.

Those launches caused Trump to tell reporters that if North Korea continued its nuclear provocations, it would feel “fire and fury.” He later tweeted that the American military was “locked and loaded.”

Trump continued his belicose threats on his preferred weapon of choice — Twitter — Sunday morning. Trump warns North Korea leaders ‘only understand one thing’:

President Donald Trump on Sunday called North Korea a “grave threat” and warned its leaders “only understand one thing” following its latest major provocation against the United States.

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”

Trump also expressed frustration at South Korea’s “appeasement” toward its aggressive neighbor, with which it has technically been at war since 1950.

“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!” he added in another tweet.

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So to quote a great American, Bugs Bunny, “Of course, you realize this means war“? Is this what you are saying?

UPDATE: After President Donald Trump left a church service Sunday, he told a pool of reporters that “we’ll see” if the U.S. attacks North Korea following its latest nuclear bomb test. Trump says “we’ll see” if U.S. attacks North Korea following test of “missile-ready” nuclear bomb. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Sunday morning the national security team is “monitoring this closely” … and “The president and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today. We will provide updates as necessary.”

More analysis from the Post:

Analysts were poring over the photos and the data Sunday, especially questioning North Korea’s claim to have produced a “two-stage thermonuclear weapon.”

David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, was skeptical of North Korea’s claims and said that the photos were likely “propaganda.”

But there was no doubt that North Korea was making progress. South Korean government officials and independent nuclear scientists estimated the yield — the amount of energy released by the weapon — to be 100 kilotons. That would make it almost seven times as strong as the American atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.

At that level, North Korea’s nuclear device would be “very significant and destabilizing,” Albright said. “It would show that their design, whatever the specific design, has achieved a yield that is capable of destroying substantial parts of large modern cities.”

Still, Albright doubted that North Korea had been able to make such a warhead small enough to fit onto a missile.

After firing increasingly long-range missiles, including the two that can theoretically reach the United States mainland, into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, North Korea last week sent a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, claiming it was capable of reaching Guam, a U.S. territory.

Analysts said that appeared to be a dummy run for firing an intercontinental ballistic missile on a normal trajectory over Japan and into the Pacific, instead of straight up and straight down as with its first two tests.

Although governments and experts would continue to assess the technical aspects of the latest nuclear test, MIT’s Narang said the danger is significant, regardless of whether this was a lesser boosted fission device or a true hydrogen bomb, or whether North Korea had mastered the technology to deliver this accurately to a target.

“It really doesn’t matter now from a deterrence perspective,” he said. “Mated on the ICBM, you don’t want this thing anywhere near a city near you.”

Sunday’s test caused anger across the region, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in saying he would “never allow North Korea to continue advancing its nuclear and missile technologies,” according to his national security adviser.

South Korean military leaders warned North Korea that they, together with their American allies, were “fully equipped” to punish North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he “would not tolerate” the nuclear test. Abe had spoken with Trump earlier in the day, and said afterwards that they had agreed to “increase pressure on North Korea and make it change its policies.”

All eyes will nowturn to China to see if it will be angry enough to impose true punishment on North Korea.

China has expressed annoyance at North Korea’s frequent ballistic missile launches, but analysts have said Beijing probably would not take serious action unless there is another nuclear test.

China’s primary concern is stability on its borders, and it has shied away from implementing sanctions that would seriously undermine the regime in Pyongyang, analysts have said. Almost all international sanctions, such as recent bans on coal and seafood exports, rely on Chinese enforcement because about 90 percent of North Korean trade goes through China.

China’s foreign ministry said Sunday that North Korea had conducted the nuclear test “with no regard to the general objections of the international community.”

“The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns this,” the ministry said in a statement.

“China will work together with the international community to comprehensively and completely implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, unswervingly push forward the denuclearization of the peninsula, and unswervingly maintain the peace and stability of the peninsula,” it said.

North Korea has once again defied the “red lines” imposed by the U.S., China and the United Nations Security Council.

Kim Jong-un’s attitude is that “You’re not going to do anything to stop me and North Korea’s nuclear program, because you do not have the stomach for war and upwards of a million casualties that would result on the Korean Peninsula. And you can’t be absolutely certain that I can’t hit Japan and Guam, and even U.S. cities with my misiles. So what are you going to do?

So what is the world going to do?

UPDATE: The Post also reports this morning that Trump is preparing withdrawal from South Korea trade deal, a move opposed by top aides: President Trump has instructed advisers to prepare to withdraw the United States from a free-trade agreement with South Korea, several people close to the process said, a move that would stoke economic tensions with the U.S. ally as both countries confront a crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Well, if we are going to war in Korea, Seoul South Korea is certain to be destroyed, then Trump won’t have to worry about that “unfair” trade deal with South Korea, will he? He should put this on hold.

One Response to (Update) One step closer to a renewed war with North Korea

  1. ” That would make it almost seven times as strong as the American atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.”

    While any nuclear weapon is to be taken seriously, this latest bomb is still a tiny one in terms of yield compared to the arsenals of the first world.

    “Still, Albright doubted that North Korea had been able to make such a warhead small enough to fit onto a missile.”

    I agree with that assessment. Nukes are heavy and bulky and getting one small and tight, that can stand the buffeting it takes during a launch of an ICBM, is VERY hard. In many ways, it is the most difficult part of building a viable large scale nuke.

    “It really doesn’t matter now from a deterrence perspective,” he said. “Mated on the ICBM, you don’t want this thing anywhere near a city near you.”

    I would also agree with statement. You would have to be terribly unlucky for a nuke to hit near enough to you to cause you harm, but if it did come close, it would certainly re-arrange your priorities for the day.

    “Well, if we are going to war in Korea, Seoul South Korea is certain to be destroyed…”

    Not necessarily. Unless it was hit with multipe nukes, I doubt it would be destroyed. Counter-battery and aircraft detection is very well developed and much of North Korea’s artillery, rocket, and aircraft capabilities would be very seriously blunted. Additionally, every road, dirt trail, mountain pass, mountain gap, bridge, and any other natural or manmade structure between Seoul and Norh Korea has been prepared with gigantic cement blocks, land slides, deep chasms, etc., designed specifically to slow down and North Korean attack. Further, virtually every square inch of the land north of Seoul has been targeted by some major weapon system, the troops have trained to a razors edge, and a HUGE amount of force can brought into the country within a very short notice. I don’t think Seoul would be destoyed, however, it would take a beating.

    Even with the introduction a hydrogen bomb (assuming it is a hydrogen bomb), not much else has changed. Kim Jung Un likes making noise and he wants to be taken seriously. He is not interested in suicide, which an attack anywhere would be. We are still where we were before this latest nuclear test…