Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A first strike attack on North Korea could prove catastrophic for Korean Peninsula

Letter sent to The Washington Post:

In his Global Opinion article “An attack on North Korea would be massive — and massively stupid”( Washington Post, 26 February 2018; https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/an-attack-on-north-korea-would-be-massive--and-massively-stupid/2018/02/25/4830251e-18dd-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html?utm_term=.02bb0f6f174d) Josh Rogin rightly  concludes any first strike military attack on North Korea would be catastrophic for the Korean Peninsula.

But he overlooks the consequences of President Kim retaliating with conventional munitions on South Korea.


For, as Bennett Ramberg, now a professor at the University  of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) - and formerly  a senior official at the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs under the first Bush administration - has written extensively, even if the U.S. were to destroy North Korea’s military nuclear infrastructure,  Kim Jong-un has thousands of conventional missiles,  many aimed at South Korea’s  national infrastructure, including its 23 nuclear reactors at four sites ( with another under construction at Yeongdeok.) (“Responding to North Korea,” http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/02/15/responding-to-north-korea/)


Any such attack would inevitably destroy the containment for the irradiated (spent) nuclear fuel storage ponds adjoining each reactor complex, distributing uncontrolled radiation across the densely populated peninsula, and, almost certainly near –neighbor Japan too.


South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has recognised the risk of his nation having  nuclear power plants and has pledged to  pull out of the nuclear business, asserting in a speech in  June   “We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era.” (Japan Times, June 19,2017; http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/19/asia-pacific/moon-says-south-korea-will-stop-building-new-nuclear-power-plants/)

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