North Korea is preparing for nuclear war

On Monday morning, North Korea made a launch of four missiles from the North-West district. The rocket flew a thousand miles and fell into the sea of Japan.


It was not long ago expected launches of Intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the United States. But these tests are important in themselves. Pyongyang clearly illustrated the warning made by a senior North Korean diplomat fluent Tae Yong Ho (Thae Yong-ho), who told us that the DPRK makes the last steps, preparing to equip its missile nuclear weapons. North Korea is developing offensive doctrine on a massive use of nuclear weapons in the initial phase of the conflict. Combined with what we know about the military plans of the US and South Korea, this fact raises troubling questions. Do not break out on the Korean Peninsula nuclear war before President Donald trump will be time to write about it on Twitter?

In the past North Korea has tested all its missiles “Nodong” at a military test site, located near the village of the same name. (This American analysts gave the missile its name.) These tests were to demonstrate that the missiles “Scud” and “Rodong” really work. It was tested in the literal sense of the word.

But in recent years, North Korea is launching “Scud” and “Nodody” from different places of this damn country. This is not missile tests, military exercises. North Korea knows that its rockets work. Now the troops carried out practical exercises in preparation for nuclear war.

The North Koreans don’t really hide their actions. Last year, Pyongyang tested a missile “Nodong”. He then posted a map showing that the rocket got to the point in the sea, which is located at the same distance as the South Korean port city of Busan. And for those who could not see the map, the North Koreans clearly explained: “the exercise was conducted with the restriction of the range of start-up scenario of pre-emptive strikes on ports and airfields in the operational theater in South Korea, where the us imperialists plan to conduct launches of its nuclear weapons in case of war”.

This time North Korea launched four Scud missiles “extended range” that can fly a thousand miles. The map shows that all four rockets fell in the distance, equal to the distance to the airbase of the marine corps, located near the Japanese city of Iwakuni. Again, the North Koreans in his statement was quite specific and left no room for guesswork: “the exercise was attended by artillery units of the strategic forces of the Korean people’s army, whose task is to apply in an emergency situation strikes at the bases of the us imperialist aggressor in Japan.”

So why is North Korea fulfills the nuclear attacks on American troops in Japan?

The United States and South Korea conduct their annual joint military exercises, called Foal Eagle. In fact, a whole series of exercises that last for two months. They involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean soldiers, and an aircraft carrier, bombers and (guess?) based in Iwakuni the F-35. Foal Eagle is a rehearsal, during which is fulfilled the operational plan OPLAN 5015, which is often called a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, including on its management, in response to a certain provocation. Such a description is true or not, but the North Koreans clearly think that the annual exercise is a dress rehearsal for the invasion. This year the exercises provides for joint airdrop of the special forces of armies of the United States and South Korea with the objective to capture the missile and nuclear facilities of the DPRK.

North Korea just has its own exercises in response to Foal Eagle. Once we are working on the theme of invasion, they work out the issues of reflection this invasion by nuclear strikes.

The greatest concern in this situation is how to relate military plans for North Korea, South Korea and the United States. The teachings of North Korea leaves no doubt that she intends to put a large number of nuclear attacks against American troops in Japan and South Korea to disrupt or weaken the invasion. In official North Korean statements uses the word “reflect”. Defectors from North Korea say that the country’s leadership is hoping for the following: inflicting heavy losses and damage in the first days of the conflict, Pyongyang could force the U.S. and South Korea to abandon the invasion. American officials usually boast that large-scale use of nuclear weapons, the DPRK will be suicide for Kim Jong-UN. However, it is clear that non-nuclear defensive actions are not saved or Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi, when they are faced with the onslaught of American military power. This was really a suicide. And here on the scene North Korean Intercontinental ballistic missiles. Their goal is not to give the Trump to make some fatal actions after Kim Jong-UN will erase from the face of the earth Seoul and Tokyo.

That’s the point. Kim’s strategy involves the proactive use of nuclear weapons before the United States will kill him and the special forces, which showed themselves to exercise Foal Eagle, will find his rocket launcher. If he intends to strike, he should do it first.

But exactly the same strategy and the United States. This means that in a crisis situation it is quite possible escalation. Although Kim and trump can show some restraint (actually, our forecasts are not very optimistic), each of them will have a huge temptation to strike first, so that the enemy was not knocked out. And then there are South Korea with its own pre-emptive plan of action. It is designed separately from OPLAN 5015 and involves the use of South Korean ballistic and cruise missiles. Plans to strike first all have: Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul. Two of them will be late.

I understand why everyone is fixated on the North Korean Intercontinental ballistic missiles. ICBMs with nuclear warheads is the ultimate goal of the DPRK and its last argument containment and deterrence. This is the last card that will be able to play Kim. But equally, if not more important to think about how you could start such a war. You need to understand more or less likely war becomes because of the plans that are developed and implemented by the warring parties. Let released Monday Intercontinental missiles and not ballistic, but in light of the exercise Foal Eagle is still a warning. Not on how to end the war on the Korean Peninsula, and how it can begin.

Jeffrey Lewis — program Director of nuclear non-proliferation in East Asia working in the Center for the study of nuclear nonproliferation at the Institute of international studies Middlebury Monterey.