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The Military United States Politics

North Korea Announces 3rd Nuclear Test, Anti-US Aims 597

As reported by Reuters, The New York Times, and Fox News, among others, North Korea's nuclear saber-rattling has reached a new peak. North Korean officials have made clear their intent to conduct a third nuclear test (earlier tests were in 2006 and 2009), as well as further rocket launches specifically designed to demonstrate missile reach extending to the U.S. From Reuters' story: "North Korea is not believed to have the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States, although its December launch showed it had the capacity to deliver a rocket that could travel 10,000 km (6,200 miles), potentially putting San Francisco in range, according to an intelligence assessment by South Korea. 'We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,' North Korea's National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA."
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North Korea Announces 3rd Nuclear Test, Anti-US Aims

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  • Good idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:16PM (#42681233) Journal

    Hey North Korea,

    That country holding the other end of your leash just voted for the Security Council resolution against you rather than abstaining as they have done in the past. Maybe before you talk a bunch of shit about lobbing a nuke at the US, you should worry about China giving that leash a big yank.

    Also, don't you guys only have enough nuclear material for 7-8 weapons? Please continue nuclear testing in your own country and use up all of your weapons grade material as fast as possible on making holes in the ground a lot bigger.

    The Rest of the World.

  • Re:Good idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theNAM666 ( 179776 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:24PM (#42681309)

    > Maybe before you talk a bunch of shit about lobbing a nuke at the US, you should worry about China giving that leash a big yank.

    Uh, hate to break it to you, but when North Korea yanks China's chain, the US major media don't typically care to report it. Korea and China are traditional enemies. Read the Chinese and Korean press, to see how often North Korea plays with China. Stop being a head-in-the-sand, reactionary US-American.

    And you can bluster all you want, nuke tests don't have to use the same amount of fissile material for different yields. Five multi-megaton warheads capable of hitting the US West Coast is serious. Treating this like a high school shouting contest, is not.

  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:36PM (#42681437) Homepage Journal

    The only way the civilized world is going to limit the cost of dealing with the ultimate war with N. Korea is to prepare S. Korea, with the help other friendly countries, to do a massive surgical strike to take out the entire N. Korean military and its facilities and have S. Korea able and supplied and armed with its own people who can move in to supplie staples and organization to the society.

    I am not convinced the military which is ultimately in control of everything, will ever give up its power, no matter what the "Glorius Leader" says or does, as he can be replaced.

    You let the cancer grow or you cut it out and deal with the consequences. Of course this could never happen within the next 4 years because of leaders in power now who have no vision other than their own personal power.

    We certainly have battle plans ready that would allow us to militarily unify Korea under the south. There would be nothing "surgical" about it, though. North Korea has massive numbers of troops, rockets, artillery, etc., and South Korea's capital is only 35 miles from the border, within range of the larger NK guns. Here's a map of what could happen. [] Seoul would be a pawn in the battle, and it would destabilize the entire area for some time.

    I think the fundamental question here is whether this is a show of strength being done because North Korea wants to talk but has nothing else to negotiate with. If so, perhaps you meet them, acknowledge their big scary threats, trade around for some perks (maybe make Kim Jong Il the equivalent of the British Royal family in the new Korea, with a figurehead role), and unify them peacefully with everyone coming out ahead. On the other hand, maybe they want to remain independent and hold a nuclear threat over the United States' head... in which case better to strike sooner, before they have the capability. I don't have any of that information, so I'm not going to second-guess the decisions.

  • by PraiseBob ( 1923958 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:43PM (#42681497)
    But it is worth keeping in mind that starvation is why North Korea started rattling its sabres in the first place. A starving populace needed an enemy to blame, so the leadership started blaming foreigners for everything going wrong. They started down the nuclear path specifically to get attention from the US and other countries and basically using extortion to get food aid from their "enemies".

    Do we want a completely desperate nuclear power? Will the people turn against the leadership, or will they vent their rage against foreigners leading to millions of deaths?
  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:47PM (#42681545)

    Why is that? Right now, North Korea is a nice bargaining chip for China. The US doesn't want a direct conflict with China so cannot directly attack North Korea. When the time is right, China will reign in North Korea (for a time) in exchange for some concessions from the US. It is a poker game with an element of risk, but North Korea is a high face card in China's hand.

    China tried reining them in 2 months ago, when they were getting ready to do the missile launch test. They still fired the missile, which is why China voted in favour of the current round of sanctions.

    NK knows that China doesn't want US military presence on their borders, and that the US will not leave SK as long as NK is still a threat to the south. Thus, it's in NK's interest to be just annoying enough that SK still considers them a threat, but not annoying enough to trigger an attack. And yes, they are a credible threat to the south, with the amount of artillery they have embedded in the hills. They don't need nuclear weapons to do a lot of damage to the South, and are doing this for the attention.

    As long as they don't do anything that would cause China to attack them, they're safe. (personally, I think that's how it's going to play out in the long run, btw... they'll piss China off enough that China attacks them, possibly with UN support, and then the US leaves SK). That means that they can ignore China's warnings and chidings all they want, as long as they don't actually do anything that directly affects China. Sadly, their current administration appears to be aware of this.

    Interestingly enough, I was listening to a discussion on the radio this morning about Munchhausen syndrome, and can't help but wonder if NK's behaviour is a form of it.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:02PM (#42681721)
    Thing is, if they were actually going to attack the US, using an ICBM isn't the best method anyway. They could just put a nuke on a fishing trawler and wander into any number of coastal ports.

    Neither side wants a war there, NK has a pretty good memory of how the civil war went.. so NK, SK, China, Japan, US... all are quite aware that actual hostilities would be a bad idea. Symbolic gestures on the other hand have value... not on the international scale, but on the local one.

    The military in NK is very powerful.. while people like to talk about the place like it is a simple dictatorship, the political reality is the Leader needs the backing of the generals, otherwise his power-base dissolves. One way to do that is build up the internal public image of military streght and show that he is willing to snub the world in favor of the generals. In essence, it is the Leader demonstrating his allegiance to his military and reasserting their primacy within the country.
  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:11PM (#42681853)
    And how would you do it? They have been sitting there preparing themselves for a "surgical strike" for sixty years. They have the most extensive tunnel and bunker system known to man. The entire freaking country is one massive fixed fortification. The people are raised with no sense of empathy, compassion, or feelings other than for their Dear Leader - children turn in their own mothers at the slightest hint of disloyalty.

    Meanwhile, as soon as the fighting starts, the DMZ turns into a sea of fire. Seoul and Incheon, the capital and primary port for the South, both within easy gun/rocket range of the DMZ (you can bet those gun emplacements are already pre-sighted), are decimated within a day. 100,000 SK and 20,000 US troops hunker down to resume the WWI-style trench warfare that characterized the latter years of the Korean War, and nothing of value is gained. A fast amphibious force from the west could probably capture Pyongyang, given the current lack of Chinese support for NK and the fact that most of the NK forces are concentrated at the front, but then what? You'd still have the full stalemate at the most fortified military position in human history, and your quick-strike force would be left holding a town in the middle of a population so hostile it makes Iraq and Vietnam look like Kentucky.

    The Chinese taught the N Koreans how to dig in. Dug in they are, culturally and militarily. There's a report floating around somewhere stating that the only possible way to reinitiate the Korean War without unacceptable losses, both military and civilian, is a first-strike with chemical weapons. Even with that, the report said it would take four times as much nerve gas as the US ever had on hand at any time.

    Some tumors you just can't slice out. You can isolate them and try to prevent them from growing, but the surgery is just too dangerous.

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:45PM (#42682277) Homepage Journal

    will never happen

    china hates the idea of a united korea allied with the USA on its border. it prefers unstable mad dog north korea to that possibility

    but as time goes on, china is going to have to make peace with the possibilty

    in fact, if north korea does go full bore wackjob, and action becomes inescapable, china would involve itself actively and militarily as well, it's not foolish. any action in north korea is dependent on chinese involvement and acquiescence, obviously

    but what i see happening is china going for regime change, but keeping the countries separate

    simply because it hates, hates, hates the idea of a united korea allied with the USA

    germany reuniting was really made possible by a sinking USSR

    china is not sinking. it's rising. therefore, the prospects of a united korea in my estimation is doomed

    any koreans dreaming of a united korea: i'm sorry, the geopolitical agenda of china is not going to let it happen

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:48PM (#42682307)

    They'll starve. There was a documentary made when some western doctors went to NK a few years ago to do things like cataract surgeries. After they got their surgeries and could see again, the first thing they did was turn to the closest picture of dear leader and begin praying to it. Literally praying to the picture as it being the representation of their Dear Leader who is a Man-God.

    I've since known people who have had dealings with NK as part of the UN. I've asked many of them if what we saw in the documentary was even remotely true and the answer was astoundingly yes. That among the population of the cities at least, that is how the leaders of the country are seen by the "loyal political" class. Even in the country side where there is mass starvation there is at least the appearance of that belief.

  • by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @04:06PM (#42683183)

    I don't quite see it like that.

    He's actually more like Clinton than Bush when it comes to responding. Clinton used cruise missiles and Obama uses drones. Though drone attacks started under Bush, Obama has increased their usage. Clinton relied much too heavily on cruise missiles rather than other tools available to him in responding to crises. Many of the troublemakers accepted that they could do something and the cost would be a cruise missile that would be unlikely to find them specifically. Sadam Hussein said as much after he was captured - he believed that that his failure to acknowledge the weapons inspectors would only result in some more cruise missiles and that the U.S. was bluffing about an actual invasion. Clinton's response to Bin Laden in Afghanistan was also cruise missiles. Bush changed the rules of the game, for better or worse, by committing ground troops. Obama appears to be flowing back into Clinton's strategy of using drones tactically rather than committing ground troops. That's why I believe that Obama's military strategy is more akin to Clinton's than Bush's.

    I disagree with the characterization of going after Bin Laden in Pakistan as being brazen. Imagine that your entire national security team has been coming to you for months claiming that they have finally tracked down Bin Laden. The intelligence infrastructure has placed assets on the ground in houses near where Bin Laden is believed to be and they also believe that Bin Laden is in the house. The only real voice against going after him in Pakistan comes from your Vice President. You ran for office highlighting that Bush's failure to capture or kill Bin Laden hurt the stature of the United States and, unlike Bush, you would bring him to justice. You also turned over responsibility for the final recommendation to the head of the CIA and he comes back with a "let's go for it" kind of recommendation.

    What would have been brazen would have been to ignore all of that and NOT go after him.

    What would have been even more brazen would have been to go in and taken Bin Laden alive and never say a word about it.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis