The Guardian reports: North Korea has threatened to sink Japan and said the US should be “beaten to death like a rabid dog” after the two countries spearheaded fresh UN security council sanctions in response to the regime’s recent nuclear test.
The Korea Asia-Pacific peace committee, which oversees North Korea’s relations with the outside world, described the UN security council, which passed a new round of sanctions on Monday, as a “tool of evil” in the pay of Washington, and called for it to be broken up.
It is the first time that Pyongyang has issued an explicit threat to Japan since it fired a medium-range ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido at the end of last month, triggering emergency sirens and mass text alerts.
“The four islands of the [Japanese] archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” the committee said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency. Juche is the ideology of self-reliance pioneered by Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong-un.
“Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the committee added. [Continue reading…]
I find a couple of things puzzling about the way the North Korea story is framed.
First, Japan (and South Korea) — which bear the brunt of the immediate threat — are extremely advanced technologically. Surely, they must be actively working on measures to disable the North Koreans. Yet except for a recent story about South Korea setting up a ‘decapitation’ force, one reads little about their plans for (possibly preemptive) defense.
Second, how is it that the North Koreans are plunging ahead with such rapidity? Is it truly credible that this is a solo effort? There are huge requirements in material and in technical expertise to do what they seem to be doing. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, but (beyond recent suggestions by British sources that Iran is somehow involved) I’ve seen little discussion of this obvious question.
There seems to be a consensus that any kind of preemptive action by South Korea, Japan, and/or the U.S. would be incapable of preventing devastating retaliation by the North Koreans. In other words, there are no means to effectively disable North Korea.
The speed of North Korea’s technical advances, particularly following repeated missile failures, has been taken to indicate that they have indeed received outside support, perhaps in the form of Soviet technology originating in Ukraine.
We should never forget that in spite of the global consensus that North Korea’s nuclear advances pose multiple threats, at the end of the day, China and Russia regard the status quo as preferable to a pro-Western unified Korea on their borders.
Public consensus, yes. I still can’t quite believe that the Japanese and South Koreans actually buy it. It’s just not the technological way of thinking.
Soviet technology, perhaps. But that’s still far short of what it takes to actually get things running.
Your last remark — intolerance of being bordered by pro-Western unified Korea — has the ring of real-politik truth. But it is ultimately quite frightening, since the North Koreans could presumably snap the leash at any time.