페이지 정보작성자 편집실 작성일18-01-02 13:09 조회2,065회 댓글5건
Discussing a Disaster Beyond Imagination
=What a Trump-like “Annihilation” of North Korea would mean for the world=
By Moon J. Pak
Continued success of Kim Jong-Un of North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) in its effort to emerge as a world nuclear power has reached a significant level with the launching of the Hwasung 15, a true intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). President Trump’s bellicose talk against the emergence of a nuclear North Korea continues. Due in part to all his irresponsible rhetoric, the international relationship between the two countries has deteriorated to an unconscionably dangerous level.
The North Korean official media has recently stated that a condition of war exists between the two countries. This followed the tightening of the most recent UN sanctions on North Korea. Those sanctions cut off North Korea’s import of its fuel energy supply, and its income from overseas labor. Add to this, the continuing joint military drills of the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) troops right off the coast of North Korea, and it is apparent that a very tense situation is brewing
Recently, a very powerful and well-known U.S. Republican senator made a public statement indicating that the likelihood of a war between the two countries has reached the 70 percent level and our president Donald Trump continues to tweet that the North Korea will be “totally annihilated,” which cannot be viewed simply as bluster and bluff. He also stated that all the dying will be “over there” and that we Americans “over here” are safe.
Korean Americans, like this writer, who experienced the Korean War (1950-53), and who are knowledgeable about the DPRK, its political and economic situation, and its unique ruling philosophy called the “juche ideology,” have a responsibility to inform other Americans about what it really means to say “war in Korea” at this time, and how it must be avoided by any possible means.
The peninsula is surrounded by China, Japan, and Russia. U.S. troops and thousands of civilians are already located in South Korea. Any conflict on the Peninsula will involve all these countries.
If war is declared by the U.S., North Korea will wage war. Although North Korea is small, with only 25 million people, there are 1.2 million in the military. The air force has 850 planes, there are coastal navy, missile forces, and long-range artillery placed along its shores and on the southern border with South Korea. It is also now a nuclear power with ICBM. In any conflict with the North, the U.S. will need to employ its full-blown military power including nuclear forces and will have to deploy military located in South Korea, Guam, Okinawa and the mainland of Japan.
Therefore, any attack on North Korea will provoke an immediate response from the North involving all these areas, and massive casualties will result not only in the North Korea, but also in South Korea, Japan and all the areas in Asia where U.S. bases are located.
It has been estimated that within a week of the conflict, even with just a conventional weapons response from North Korea, near 10 million in South Korea and about 1.5 million Japanese will be killed. We will also put in harm’s way the 38,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea and the 100.000 U.S. citizens residing there as well.
“The annihilation” of North Korea that our president is currently discussing must involve the use of our nuclear weapons system, therefore North Korea’s immediate counterattack would involve the use of their nuclear weapons system. Taking this into consideration, the casualties could easily be doubled, tripled or worse, reaching phenomenal, catastrophic levels.
In addition, as our nuclear attack force, faced with launching at North Korea, it is most likely that they will immediately launch their system aimed at the U.S. mainland. Their system may not be as sophisticated or their missiles as numerous as ours, but it is thought that they can reach the U.S. continent. North Korea also has submarine-ballistic missile launching capability..
Experts still doubt the re-entry capability of North Korean missile technology, but even if a missile was detonated in midair, it would cause tremendous damage to the U.S. information grid with its thermo-electronic wave. Various estimates, though not based on science, have put the casualty numbers from a North Korean nuclear missile attack on the U.S. mainland, at about a million, assuming it struck in either Washington, D.C. or New York City.
The “Annihilation”of the country would cause, of course, vast numbers of casualties of the North Korean people. Even during the three-year Korean War, 20 percent of North Koreans perished.
Setting aside, for the moment, the devastating loss of life, such a war would have a huge impact on the world economy. South Korea is the 11th largest economy globally, and it is a major player along with other countries that would be involved in this war. The impact of such a war would be economically devastating for many countries including, Japan, China, Vietnam, and the U.S.
Such a war would also devastate the environment. In addition to the radiation released by nuclear weapons of U.S. and DPRK, at least 24 nuclear electric plants in South Korea could potentially be destroyed, and the effect on radiation emissions on environment as well as the thermal energy released in the war will have unknown significant effect on our earth.
In the aftermath of such a war, the responsibility of reconstruction, if ever possible, of the whole area as well as the U.S. will fall on the America, the country that started the “Annihilation” of North Korea. There is no way of estimating the cost, but the cost borne by the U.S. of reconstruction in the aftermath of the Iraq War has been estimated at $8.15 trillion!.
It is therefore obvious that war is not an option in solving the North Korean problem; actually, there is no North Korean problem!
The Korean War was ended in an armistice at Panmunjom, Korea, with an armistice treaty signed by the U.S., DPRK and China, in 1953. It was to be followed within three months with a peace treaty between the two countries, at a meeting at Geneva. However, it was never realized mainly due to reluctance of the U.S.
Thus, followed 65 years of dysfunction and hatred between the U.S. and North Korea and isolation, sanctions, and embargoes placed on North Korea by U.S. and UN (which usually follows the U.S. recommendation on the issue). The eventual collapse of the North Korean regime has been the U.S. objective whereas, a peaceful, normalized diplomatic relationship with the U.S. has been the North Korean objective. North Korea wishes to move from its state of international isolation and toward the economic development.
During the past 65 years, there have been many conflicts between the two countries. eg., Pueblo affairs, EC 150 accident, Panmunjom incidence, etc., etc. In every one of these occasion, U.S. threatened North Korea with nuclear weapons. There were even a few occasions where they actually flew bombers loaded with nuclear bombs toward Pyongyang.
It is primarily for this reason that North Korea strived so hard in the past decades to develop nuclear weapons. Its goal was to become a respected dialogue partner at an equal level with the U.S. They refer to their nuclear power as “nuclear deterrence” because they view it as a strategic weapon, and have no goal to attack the U.S. or South Korea or any other countries.
North Korea has a socialist system which is unique in the world; to outsiders it seems idiosyncratic. Its leader and its reigning politica
l party are revered with almost religious fervor; therefore, no amount of sanctions would make the regime collapse and no amount of military threats will lead to denuclearization. With Trump’s effort the country could be annihilated and demolished with terrible and unconscionable cost to the U.S. and rest of the world as stated above. The DPRK, however, will neither surrender nor collapse.
The only remaining option for the U.S. is to deal with them with understanding, respect, and with equal standing. It is also necessary to remove the trade and financial sanctions on the country in order to normalize their country and the society and become a partner in the world community.
(Korean Quarterly, VOL.21, NUM. 2, Winter, 2018)
Moon J. Pak M.D., Ph.D. is a Detroit-area physician and serves as the senior vice president of the Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC), a national organization that works for understanding between the U.S. and North Korea, and facilitates academic and cultural exchanges for Americans in North Korea.
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