David Wroe reports: Robert Kelly is an American living in South Korea. As is well known to the more than 25 million viewers who’ve watched the hilarious video of his children bursting into his BBC interview, the Korea expert has a young family.
While Kelly is sceptical that tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program will lead to war, he and his wife regularly discuss what they will do if there is an attack by the North on Busan, where Kelly teaches at the city’s university.
“With a young family I take it seriously and my wife and I talk about it whenever these things pop up – what to do, where to go, what to pack,” he said.
Busan in the south would be in range of the North’s ballistic missiles, including nukes. The THAAD shield system might stop some of them but not all.
There is no such protective shield to defend the capital Seoul against the rain of artillery and rockets that could be fired by the North from the demilitarised zone. In greater Seoul, which the North has threatened to turn into “a sea of fire” if it were ever attacked, there are an estimated 100,000 Americans living among the population of 25 million people.
If Donald Trump lost patience with the North’s recalcitrance over its nuclear program and decided to launch a pre-emptive strike against the regime of Kim Jong-un, he would have to consider whether he wanted to see images of hundreds, maybe thousands of dead Americans on CNN on top of the tens of thousands of dead South Koreans.
He could evacuate Americans en masse but that would signal an intention and the North would then probably launch pre-emptively anyway. [Continue reading…]