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Plan B should be made amid Pyongyang's Guam shelling plan announcement

Plan B should be made amid Pyongyang's Guam shelling plan announcement

Posted August. 11, 2017 08:14,   

Updated August. 11, 2017 09:02

한국어

North Korea has recently announced its “Guam bombardment plan,” which states the missile routes, range, and the point of impact on Guam located in the Pacific. “The four mid-to-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 will fly 3,356.7 kilometers for 1,065 seconds above the Shimane, Hiroshima, and Kochi skies in Japan, and will hit the coasts located 30-40 kilometers away from Guam,” said North Korean Strategic Military Commander Kim Rak Kyom. Kim added that he will report to Kim Jong Un by finalizing the plan by mid-August. Against this backdrop, Washington repeatedly warned that it will stage a military response. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the U.S. will suppress the North by “action-to-action,” and warned that the provocation will only result in the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

 

It seems that Pyongyang aims to shore up the crisis until the Korea-U.S. joint forces conduct its Ulchi Freedom Guardian later this month. North Korea’s plan is to prepare for whatever consequences they will face before the world’s most powerful American forces enter the Korean Peninsula for their military drills; be it a face-to-face war eventually leading to catastrophe, or a breakthrough by last-minute compromise. Still, the Trump administration will not tolerate the reckless behavior shown by the reclusive nation, which tries to fight to the bitter end by testing the super-power nation.

Washington will make preemptive strikes instantly once they catch signs of a missile launch from North Korea. Even if the missiles have been launched, the U.S. is highly likely to intercept with its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), and further disenable Pyongyang from making retaliatory strikes at the face place. After promising “fire and fury,” President Trump also stressed the possibility of a nuclear attack, by emphasizing the U.S. nuclear weapons. The Japanese government also mentioned its right of self-defense, or the right to counterattack by deeming that the attack is also aimed to its homeland. Indeed, the international warfare will cause serious and inevitable consequences.  

 

At the current time, the South Korean government is responding in a prudent way. A high-ranking official at the presidential office also denied the possible crisis in the Korean Peninsula, commenting, “When managed well, we can turn this into an opportunity.” Of course it will be safe if there is a plan to stop the two locomotives with burning flames running face-to-face, but that does not seem to be the case. The current tension reminds of the first North Korean nuclear crisis back in 1994, and seems to show no signs of a resolution. It is also true that the current crisis may eventually end as “verbal bombings,” just like 23 years ago. Nonetheless, the problem lies in the fact that the two leaders both are unpredictable. In particular, Kim Jong Un is far from being regarded as a rational-minded leader. Back in 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter intervened in talks, but it seems that a “white knight” cannot be found in 2017.

 

The government shouldn't stir up its people, but saying there is no such thing as a crisis is not a silver bullet. Panic prevails at the speed of light. The upcoming days will be tight with highest tensions. To prepare for the worst case scenario, a plan B, or a “contingency plan” should be fully prepared, while at the same time show diplomatic efforts to prevent such extreme incident. In addition, the civil defense system should also be scrutinized in a calm yet thorough way, while preparing for local provocation from the land and seas. Above all, an all-out diplomatic warfare should take place, by reassuring close coordination with the U.S. and Japan, and also persuading Russia and China to strengthen their sanctions on North Korea so that Kim Jong Un cannot make irrevocable mistakes.



klimt@donga.com