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The Military Security News Politics Science Technology

Kim To N. Korean Military: Be Ready To Use Nuclear Weapons At Any Time (reuters.com) 321

PolygamousRanchKid writes with this story from Reuters, excerpting: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his country to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time and to turn its military posture to "pre-emptive attack" mode in the face of growing threats from its enemies, state media said on Friday. The comments, carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, marked a further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula after the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday imposed harsh new sanctions against the isolated state for its nuclear program. South Korea's defense ministry said on Thursday North Korea launched several projectiles off its coast into the sea up to 150 kilometers (90 miles) away, an apparent response to the U.N. sanctions. ... North Korea has previously threatened pre-emptive attacks on its enemies including South Korea, Japan and the United States. Military experts doubt it has yet developed the capability to fire a long-range missile with a miniaturized warhead to deliver a nuclear weapon as far as the United States. Says PolygamousRanchKid: "Oh, joy oh joy... I knew that 2016 was missing something: the threat of nuclear war!"
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Kim To N. Korean Military: Be Ready To Use Nuclear Weapons At Any Time

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  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @10:49PM (#51634017)

    There is no real risk of a nuclear strike coming out of NK. The real deterrent they have is the massed conventional artillery pointed at Seuol. Any attack on NK would have to be so overwhelming as to destroy the artillery in a minute. If not millions of civilians die.

    • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @10:59PM (#51634093) Journal

      There is no real risk of a nuclear strike coming out of NK. The real deterrent they have is the massed conventional artillery pointed at Seuol. Any attack on NK would have to be so overwhelming as to destroy the artillery in a minute. If not millions of civilians die.

      Nobody is seriously considering a first strike on North Korea. All their bolstering about their enemies threatening attack is for domestic consumption. With the new sanctions imposed life in North Korea is about to get even harder and injecting a new dose of fear in the populace helps to keep them under control. The truth is that what South Korea fears as well as China fear most is a rapid collapse of the regime and millions of immigrants making a mad-dash for the borders

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      That's war kids.
    • There is no real risk of a nuclear strike coming out of NK.

      Nuclear weapons aren't necessarily missiles, nor even nuclear bombs. Nuclear weapons include dirty bombs, nuclear dusting and various other things. Some of the later only require WW2 era technology. North Korea is capable of attacking the US with these older technologies.

      • How exactly?

        • by drnb ( 2434720 )
          A single crop duster aircraft would do. Although the WW2 idea was on a larger scale and used a formation of bombers for "dusting".

          For even lower tech there is a simple dirty bomb. A regular bomb encased in radioactive material. Delivered like any other bomb, methods subject to its size.

          Whether you take out a room, a city block or an entire city won't make much difference to how the US reacts though. Radioactive material should be traceable back to NK reactors.
      • No, not really. The only real nuclear risk to the US would be a bomb smuggled into a port. I'm sure this is possible but the actual damage from that would be minimal. Also the risk of getting caught is extremely high. That sort of operation would produce too much chatter to not get detected.

        • by drnb ( 2434720 )

          No, not really. The only real nuclear risk to the US would be a bomb smuggled into a port. I'm sure this is possible but the actual damage from that would be minimal. Also the risk of getting caught is extremely high. That sort of operation would produce too much chatter to not get detected.

          Do not confuse the operational skills of NK operatives with the idiot jihadists in the middle east. The NK operatives are highly trained and extremely proficient special forces types. The NK's aren't very chatty.

          Also don't fixate on city killers. Contaminating a city block or even a room would have a massive effect in the US. And a massive response.

          • Sorry I don't give NK military the level of credit you do. I doubt that they are particularly well trained or well equipped. They are also not combat tested to any degree.

            • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @01:49AM (#51634791)

              Sorry I don't give NK military the level of credit you do. I doubt that they are particularly well trained or well equipped. They are also not combat tested to any degree.

              Do not confuse the NK military in general with the NK special operations types. Its night and day. They're special operations types are highly capable and have proven it in South Korea. For example in the 1990s a NK reconnaissance team infiltrated South Korea by submarine and successfully surveilled a navy base for several days. When the sub came back to pick them up the sub ran aground. Classified equipment was destroyed and then the recon team executed the sailors and tried to make it to NK on foot. They were discovered and evaded the South Korean military for over a month, killing and wounding several dozen South Korean soldiers in the process. Most of the recon team was killed during this long hunt, one is thought to have made it to NK.

              On another occasion a NK sub got caught in a fishing vessels nets. Its seems to have scuttled itself when the South Korean Navy tried to take it. The water was shallow enough for divers to search it. Evidence of numerous successful recon mission on South Korean territory was found.

      • Nuclear weapons aren't necessarily missiles, nor even nuclear bombs. Nuclear weapons include dirty bombs, nuclear dusting and various other things. Some of the later only require WW2 era technology. North Korea is capable of attacking the US with these older technologies.

        Dirty bombs are the strategic equivalent of poking a polar bear with a small twig.

        • by drnb ( 2434720 )

          Nuclear weapons aren't necessarily missiles, nor even nuclear bombs. Nuclear weapons include dirty bombs, nuclear dusting and various other things. Some of the later only require WW2 era technology. North Korea is capable of attacking the US with these older technologies.

          Dirty bombs are the strategic equivalent of poking a polar bear with a small twig.

          Good thing NK is run by a rational grounded person who would never do something so stupid, no matter how desperate.

    • Thank goodness we have our own Kim [youtube.com] on our side to prevent this from becoming reality.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @02:54AM (#51634929)

      millions of civilians die

      Millions would not die [nautilus.org]. The death toll of a surprise barrage by NK conventional artillery would be tens of thousands. Long range NK artillery would be neutralized in the first week. Seoul would survive.

      You're parroting the claims of the NYT and others that tend to exaggerate the consequences of conflict for their own misguided reasons. Without nuclear or chemical weapons NK cannot destroy Seoul, and with such weapons they face rapid obliteration by the strategic weapons of South Korean allies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Very interesting report. Certainly makes me rethink the (for lack of a better term) conventional wisdom about NK's ability to strike at Seoul. Until now I would have essentially agreed with the OP. The report definitely seems to be well thought out and thorough, however it does rely on some information which, while it may be the best available, is not completely verified (acknowledged in the report, to it's credit). For example, the so-called "Dud rate". I'm don't necessarily disagree with these numbers, bu

        • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @07:50AM (#51635603) Homepage Journal

          This stuff is easy to look up yourself.

          Hell, get on Google Earth or Google Maps and review all the places they say there will be attacks from.

          You'll find a few holes and tunnel entrances.

          What you won't find, is fast deploy-able anti aircraft weapons. You won't find ports or ships to carry attackers. You won't find rail lines that can't be cut fast, and you won't find shit for infrastructure to support a war or a movement of troops. You won't find airfields of any merit. You won't find planes on any of the ones that are there that have moved in years. To attack, they'll have to WALK. Over MOUNTAINS.

          Cluster bombs, dropped mines, and other simple stuff will stop them. Hell, drop FOOD behind the lines with a leaflet that says "we dropped all the food behind you." That's what they want anyway, that's the reason for all the threats.

          Nothing will come of any of this. China will ship them some more food and they'll quiet down until the crops fail next year.

          • by dargaud ( 518470 )

            Nothing will come of any of this. China will ship them some more food and they'll quiet down until the crops fail next year.

            Why do their crops seem to fail year after year ? Do they put ALL their resources in the military and nothing for the rest of the country ?

            • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

              A good portion of the country just sucks to crow crops. Poor soil, terrain, and climate conditions just make it impractical to grow crops in a significant amount.

              For the parts that can grow crops, economic sanctions have had their effect to. Having very limited access to commercial pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum products, and electricity for irrigation results in significantly lower crop yields than what a modern farm would yield. Add in severe natural disasters, lack of diversity in crops, shitty seed

            • Why do their crops seem to fail year after year ? Do they put ALL their resources in the military and nothing for the rest of the country ?

              That is a large part of it. Military first is a main guiding principle in NK. They justify it due to the threat of the USA and their puppet government in SK. Even when the country was starving, food first went to the military as well as other resources.

              Other points are that NK just isn't a good place for growing crops. Most of the good farm land is in the south and the north is good for mining. Another is that the country very seriously follows the guidence of their supreme leaders, and at one time, the eld

    • There is no real risk of a nuclear strike coming out of NK

      Personally, I'm not as confident as that - we already know of people in this world, who are prepared to throw it all away even in an empty gesture, if they are pushed hard enough; and they do seem to have the capability to make nuclear weapons, even if it is only just. The problem is that they have been pushed into a corner that gets ever tighter, and they still haven't got the sense to change their tack. Do we believe they are going to back down at some point? I'm not convinced - it would appear that we ha

      • But the corner that they are in is the corner the rulers want to be in. They can point at the big bad americans and live it up. Yeah the general population lives in hell but those in the ruling party live a very very comfortable life.

        These people are not driven by a crazy religion or ideology. They are just leveraging the western threat to live the high life at the price of the peasants.

  • Look at the bright side - the day after a North Korea 1st strike, the problem with North Korea will be solved. Or at least disappear.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Also any problems with South Korea existing are also solved :(
    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      Yeah, because millions of innocent dead is a bright side. Some of the things you say are so stupid they're baffling.

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @12:41AM (#51634571) Homepage

        Yeah, because millions of innocent dead is a bright side. Some of the things you say are so stupid they're baffling.

        I see you didn't quite follow his reasoning, so let's go over it. The millions of innocent dead are the downside. The fact that it couldn't happen a second time, because after a nuclear exchange the problematic North Korean government would no longer exist, that's the bright side.

        Accuse the parent poster of joking in bad taste if you want, but what he posted was perfectly logical.

        • because after a nuclear exchange the problematic North Korean government would no longer exist, that's the bright side.

          Yep because that has happened so often of the past 100 years that it's worth killing millions for.

          But I disagree with one fundamental part of this... we have been far closer to the threat of nuclear war than this. It's a little man trying to show how big he is. He's all sorts of crazy, but he's not stupid. North Korea won't pre-emptively strike the USA any more than they were the first nation to put an astronaut on the sun (at night of course because it would be too hot during the day).

    • Unless NK has a huge jump in technology any bomb they set off would be relatively low yield meaning to would be very unlikely for the US to go all MAD within seconds. If they bombed a US city they would also launch artillery strikes on South Korea, this would see US forces in Japan & SK hitting back hard, extremely quickly. On top of that the Chinese would move in fast in order to ensure they were at the negotiating table afterwards.

      Realistically even if NK nuked an American city America would not nuk

    • Look at the bright side - the day after a North Korea 1st strike, the problem with North Korea will be solved. Or at least disappear.

      By what means? The U.S., nor any other nation, would not issue a retaliatory strike, and probably not even invade. A few facilities bombed, and that's about it.

      It would take several consecutive strikes before any first world nation (well OK just the U.S.) would consider a nuclear strike right now.

    • Look at the bright side - the day after a North Korea 1st strike, the problem with North Korea will be solved. Or at least disappear.

      Seems doubtful that the west would dare retaliate with nukes given that North Korea is attached to China.

      Which is of course why NK gets away with all the bullshit that they get away with to start with.

    • That's not a bright side.
      We don't want North Korea to disappear, we want them to be integrated back into the international community. To stop being crazy. To enjoy the good things we all enjoy.
  • Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2016 @10:52PM (#51634033)

    I live in Seoul and no one I know is even slightly concerned about this guy. No one is scared and no one cares.

    Ignore him.

  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @10:53PM (#51634041) Journal
    North Korea is now all-in on their nuclear-weapons gambit. What North Korea's endgame might be remains unknown, least of all to its young, inexperienced leader Kim Jong UnKim
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Will threaten for food.
      I don't think there is an endgame, just the status quo with a small number of ultra-rich aristocrats very happy with the situation and a very large number of starving peasants unable to change it.
      • BTW, has anybody noticed that Kim Jong Un always seems to be the one-and-only fat guy in any picture you ever see of North Koreans? Not even the elite folks that flank him are fat (except for the brims of their hats, of course.) Maybe he has a rule about that or something: "I am only fat guy in North Krorea!" Just wondering...

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Someone I met used to run a seafood export business out of North Korea but had to flee for her life to China sometime around 1960. The place went from being a major exporter of food to starvation even with foreign food aid.
  • Since I am convinced Kim Jong Un does not want to live the rest of his life in a radiation-proof bunker, I am not scared by North Korea military posture.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @11:06PM (#51634147)

    Mostly because people who have seriously studied the DPRK military note their military is like the military divisions in Moscow during the Soviet era: all show and no go. Many have said that the DPRK military may not even have enough ammunition and military hardware to mount a full-scale invasion of South Korea.

    • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @12:22AM (#51634505)

      They don't have the capability to invade South Korea. They haven't in a very very long time. If they tried to march south they would be massacred.

      What they do have is an absolutely stupid number of artillery pieces pointed south and we know at least some of them work because they keep firing them. The US estimates that NK has 8600 artillery pieces of which 4500 are currently aimed at SK. Even if you assumed 50% were inoperable the amount of explosive that would rain on Seoul is insane.

      • Well i dont know thier layout at all but couldn't the US just bomb those positions? not fast enough? I guess theres no such thing as a tactical nuke but if they are all in the side of a mountain, perhaps creative means could be used.

        • North Korea is prepared for that. They have heavily fortified bunkers, hidden locations, and mobile artillery, so we don't actually know where they all are. In the first few minutes of bombardment, millions would die.
        • Well the estimate is 4500 artillery aimed at seoul. Lets assume you manage to knock out 75% in a pre-emptive strike. That leaves 1125. If we make the assumption that they are the D-20 which are the predominate NK equipment they can fire 4-6 rounds in the first minute and then sustain 1 rpm. Assuming we identify them and destroy all of them in 30 minutes (not fucking likely) that means close to 40,000 shells have landed on Seoul in the first 30 minutes.

          There are 10 million people living in Seoul. How ma

          • by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @04:26AM (#51635161)

            Since you ask a serious question, then why not a serious answer.

            My ballpark would be 100,000 people dead depending heavily on the type of ordinance (HE, AP, Incendary, Frag, etc)
            so, that is around 1% of the population. Remember, those shells will land roughly randomly - I am assuming they have been
            setup to specifically target the population (if totally random then it will be MUCH lower).

            However your figures are highly flawed, as you are not allowing for losses in the NK artillery, or for desertions in people who dont
            actually want to shell their own families (remember, Korea was only separated a few generations ago), equipment failure, etc.
            You are also assuming all of those pieces can reach high popluation densities, however the border is long and the ranges not that great.

            By your own claims (and I agree) their most common artillery piece is similar to the D20, around 20km range.
            The center is Seoul is 30-40km from the border (30 if you count a specific inset area..), so they only have the closer areas to
            target, which are lower density. They would also need to have concentrated all their artillery in a very small and specific region to even
            target Seoul.

            And, lastly, think about what they would 'gain' by such an attack. The rest of the world would wipe them out.
            No more young girl harems for the great leader, no more european sportscars, no more playstation, no more living as kings for the ruling class.
            If they are lucky they will be reduced to running and hiding while they are being hunted after the fall of their state.

            Hard to see their motivation for such an attack..

            • My figures were based on them having lost 75% of their capabilities due to a pre-emptive strike by the US or other forces. You can pretty much cross out any desertion / non-firing because of not wanting to attack people if they were subject to a first strike. You would of course have to add in runners but I felt that 75% out of action probably covered those.

              It was in response to the previous posters comment of can't the US just bomb them. I also assumed a 100% silence rate at 30 minutes which is probably

      • I read a paper to this effect from an Air Force officer. I'm not sure what it was but I seem to recall it was something like a graduate school thesis. The paper basically laid out why it was best to just leave North Korea alone.

        The paper spelled out the number of artillery pieces that they have, the number of conventional shells they have on hand to fire, the rate that they can fire, and the range that they are capable of reaching. These artillery pieces are placed in deep in mountain sides where they wo

        • The paper speculated that any attack on NK would result in a bombardment of any and all populated areas in SK. Since a large portion of the population lives within artillery range the result of such bombardment would be very deadly. In the time it would take to destroy those artillery pieces about 2/3rds of the SK population would be dead or homeless.

          Is that not assuming all, or at least 2/3rd of the population live within range (20-30km) of the artillery which is definitely not the case. And that's if they're literally on the border, any recession into NK territory would reduce the effective range further. Going by this map you've got maybe 3 or 4 places big enough to be marked within range. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_South_Korea#/media/File:Korea_south_map_-_Valentim.png). That probably also assumes the population would take no measur

    • That's exactly what Stratfor would say. They describe most leaders, such as they are, as rational players primarily interested in their survival. DPRK doing anything other than posturing w/ nuclear weapons would be against their survival.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2016 @11:18PM (#51634219)

    He took one look at American's presidential candidates and said to himself: "Self, if I don't do something fast, I'll lose my title as craziest man on the planet."

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @11:33PM (#51634311)

    Says PolygamousRanchKid: "Oh, joy oh joy... I knew that 2016 was missing something: the threat of nuclear war!"

    We don't need this stupid bullshit in the summary. I'll read the comments if I want stupid bullshit.

    • by aralin ( 107264 )

      Also, as the guy has absolutely no clue. We just averted a very real possibility of nuclear war just a week ago, when the ceasefire agreement was reached for Syria. There is still a good chance of it, but it seems to be considerably lower now. Saudi Arabia and Turkey threatened to invade Syria and Russia would have no choice, but to use tactical nuclear weapons to defend their troops there. What we would do in response is not too hard to guess.

      Compared to this, there is almost no threat of actual nuclear wa

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @12:07AM (#51634441) Homepage

    so guess the western powers need to throw rocks on another buggie man/hornets nest/

  • by Daniel Matthews ( 4112743 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @01:25AM (#51634713)
    So he picks a fight and some good and innocent people die, but 100% of his country gets vaporised in the counter strike. He had better check the weather before he wumps SK too, because at the moment the fallout would poison most of eastern China. Or does he realise that and is trying to intimidate Xi Jinping as well? Somehow I don't think that strategy is likely to go well for him.

    Cue cartoons of him in a nappy trying to count on his fingers, because that is the magnitude of his arsenal and the nature of his behaviour.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @02:30AM (#51634875) Journal

    At this point, we really won't even mind if you keep it as a "communist" buffer state. Just install a saner puppet. Really. We won't mind that much. Do it. DO IT. DO IT!!!!

  • a lot of what comes out of Pyongyang is likely directed at their own population. Kim needs to convince his people that their country is under imminent threat in order to distract attention away from the corruption and oppression by his regime. He needs to show his own people that he is doing something to respond to that threat that his propaganda machine created. Otherwise he appears weak, or his people won't take that threat seriously. And he needs the combination of an over-sized military (for the populat
  • by three27 ( 806894 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @02:49AM (#51634907)
    Why not consider an expert's opinion? I point you to the work of Andrei Lankov and in particular a recent (Feb 1, 2016) Q&A he did with the Korea and the World podcast. He's traveled to China and spoken with officials there about the relationship with North Korea—it is in better shape than the media lets on. Also he talks a bit about the current state of the economy and the growth of private markets—they are thriving and being allowed to do so. The conclusion is that North Korea is much more stable than most would give them credit—especially the South Korean propaganda machine—and that despite appearances Kim Jong Un may actually be allowing an openness not previously seen in North Korea. This is demonstrated by the decrease in the number defectors over the last two years and the general increase in the standard of living. source: http://www.koreaandtheworld.or... [koreaandtheworld.org]
    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @08:52AM (#51635751)
      Lankov is Russian and is based in Russia. Do I really have to point out that nobody in Russia is a reliable source of information under Putin? For all you or I know, he has Kremlin ties. I do think it's certainly possible that private markets are helping stability, I'm not convinced that Lankov doesn't have an agenda straight from Putin and for a variety of reasons it is in Putin's interests at the moment to paint North Korea in a picture as rosy as possible. I have read Victor Cha's book _The Impossible State_ and I recommend it. Cha points out that China basically has no choice but to support North Korea. They don't want refugees flooding over the border, which not only would cost them money but would take up valuable resources they are going to need to keep the population in line as the economy declines. China lost Taiwan, perhaps forever, as a result of going to North Korea's aid in the Korean War. This is still a major sticking point for them. Their desire to have complete control over Taiwan is insatiable. Also, China paid a real price in blood to save North Korea, including the loss of one of Mao's sons. And finally to give China something for their support, North Korea is basically letting them ravage the environment to dig up rare earths that China pays a huge discount for. Cha states that while China has more influence than they are willing to use most of the time, they actually have less real influence than is commonly believed in the west. North Korea knows that ultimately it can do what it wants because there are real limits to how much China will push back.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@NOSpAM.mac.com> on Friday March 04, 2016 @03:26AM (#51634993) Journal

    I wonder if the Baby God Dictator of the Norks has minions who are smart enough to shoot his ass before letting him destroy their country?

    If the Norks pop off a nuke, it will be the last thing they ever do.

    -jcr

  • If North Korea pre-emptively attacked the South, either with an artillery / missile barrage or used a nuke, it might as well kiss its existence goodbye. At least as far as the regime and a large portion of its army was concerned. Even China would probably be on the side of those looking to wipe them off the face of the earth.
  • All North Koreans are receiving extra rations of beans and other types of food known to cause gaseous discharge.
  • Same shit, different day.

    Maybe someday the south will just say, "OK, bring it on you fat little faggot!" and smack the shit out of them.

    Problem solved.

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