Kim's message: War is coming to US soil
By Kim Myong Chol
("Unofficial" spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea.)
Times" -- -- The Foreign Ministry of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced on October 3
that the DPRK planned to conduct a nuclear test. The Foreign
Ministry stated that the planned nuclear test was in response to
the grave situation created by the US, where "the supreme
national security interests of the DPRK are at stake with the
Korean nation standing at the crossroads of life and death".
The nuclear test, once conducted, will have far-reaching
implications for the Koreas and the rest of the world. It
carries five messages.
The first message is that Kim Jong-il is the greatest of the
peerless national heroes Korea has ever produced. Kim is unique
in that he is the first to equip Korea with sufficient military
capability to take the war all the way to the continental US.
Under his leadership the DPRK has become a nuclear-weapons state
with intercontinental means of delivery. Kim is certainly in the
process of achieving the long-elusive goal of neutralizing the
American intervention in Korean affairs and bringing together
North and South Korea under the umbrella of a confederated
Unlike all the previous wars Korea fought, a next war will be
better called the American War or the DPRK-US War because the
main theater will be the continental US, with major cities
transformed into towering infernos. The DPRK is now the
fourth-most powerful nuclear weapons state just after the US,
Russia, and China.
The DPRK has all types of nuclear bombs and warheads, atomic,
hydrogen and neutron, and the means of delivery, short-range,
medium-range and long-range, putting the whole of the
continental US within effective range. The Korean People's Army
also is capable of knocking hostile satellites out of action.
All the past Korean heroes let the Land of Morning Calm be
reduced to smoking ruins as the wars were fought on its soil,
even though they repelled the invaders. One of the two major
aspirations of the Korean people has been the buildup of
military capability enough to turn enemy land into the war
theater. Kim has splendidly achieved this aspiration.
The other has been the neutralization and phasing out of the
American presence in Korea before the two Koreas come together
as a reunified state. When President George W Bush agreed on the
2009 transfer of wartime operational control over South Korean
forces to the South Korean president, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld signaled the withdrawal of US troops with combat troops
relocated from the front line to bases behind Seoul.
The title "the greatest iron-willed, brilliant commander" is
reserved for Kim Jong-il, who has led tiny North Korea to
acquire the most coveted membership of the elite nuclear club,
braving all the nuclear war threats, sanctions and isolation
efforts on the part of the US. It is little short of a miracle
that the leader has outmaneuvered and outpowered the Bush
administration against heavy odds.
Kim is adding to the glory of Koguryo and Dankun Korea,
vindicating the military-first policy inspired by tamul (the
Koguryo term for standing up to a major power, valuing the pride
of being descendants of Dankun Korea, developing newer weapons,
restoring lost land and settling old scores with foreign
Revealing are headlines of New York Times articles. One op-ed on
February 9, 2005, by Nicholas Kristof is headlined "Bush Bites
His Tongue". The article says: "There are two words the Bush
administration doesn't want you to think about: North Korea.
That's because the most dangerous failure of US policy these
days is in North Korea. President Bush has been startlingly
passive as North Korea has begun churning out nuclear weapons
like hot cakes."
One article dated February 13, 2005, by B R Myers is "Stranger
Than Fiction". He writes: "To North Korea, diplomacy is another
form of war. Under the leadership of Kim Jong-il, the Foreign
Ministry has bullied the United Nations into submission and
outwitted the United States into providing food aid - all the
while developing a formidable nuclear arsenal. This is, of
course, the hardline view of North Korea that prevails in some
quarters in Washington. Yet it is also the official North Korean
view of North Korea."
The February 20, 2005. article by David Sanger is headlined
"America Loses Bite," with a senior Bush administration official
quoted as saying, "It's counterproductive to draw a red line for
North Korea because they will only view it as a challenge." The
article notes: "In North Korea's case, red lines may be what Kim
Jong-il sees in his rear-view mirror."
In his September 9, 2006, address to the 4th Global Strategic
Review of the London-based International Institute for Strategic
Studies, Mitchell Reiss offered a remarkable observation:
"Perhaps the least-noted and most astonishing aspect of the
entire diplomatic process involving North Korea during the past
few years has been the almost complete inability of four of the
world's strongest military and economic powers, including three
nuclear weapons states and three members of the UN Security
Council - the United States, China and Russia and Japan - to
shape the strategic environment in Northeast Asia.
"They have proven thoroughly incapable of preventing an
impoverished, dysfunctional country of only 23 million people
from consistently endangering the peace and stability of the
world's most economically dynamic region. This has been nothing
less than a collective failure."
The December 29, 2002, Washington Post article by Michael Dobbs
says: "US officials note that North Korea's action has been
condemned by most of its neighbors and potential big-power
patrons, such as China and Russia, Japan and South Korea. Such
logic is unconvincing to many experts on North Korea. They
contend that Kim is trying to set up a situation in which he
wins, whatever happens."
The second point is that a nuclear test will be a legitimate
exercise of North Korea's sovereign right in supreme
national-security interests of the country. The sole reason for
the development of nuclear weapons is more than 50 years of
direct exposure to naked nuclear threats and sanctions from the
US. The Kim administration seeks to commit nuclear weapons to
actual use against the US in case of war, never to use them as a
tool of negotiations.
It is sheer illusion to think that sanctions and isolation will
stop North Korea from the planned nuclear test. US hostility,
threats and sanctions are the very engines that have propelled
the development of nuclear weapons. Absent US hostility, nuclear
blackmailing, sanctions, threats of isolation and regime change,
the Kim administration would never have thought at all of
acquiring nuclear deterrence.
What makes North Korea unique among those states Bush lumped
together as the "axis of evil" is that only it has been
subjected to US nuclear threats and sanctions and singled out as
a prime target of nuclear preemption. The US refuses to end the
state of war with North Korea while keeping combat-ready
nuclear-attack forces ready in bases in Japan and South Korea.
North Korea is not host to any foreign military bases. The US is
engaged in ceaseless nuclear-attack exercises in and around
Japan and South Korea.
The US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, India,
Pakistan and Israel conducted numerous nuclear detonation
experiments in legitimate exercise of their sovereignty. There
is no international convention or treaty that prohibits North
Korea from conducting underground nuclear tests. No country is
allowed to infringe on the sovereignty of North Korea in
material breach of Chapter 2 of the UN charter, unless they are
prepared to risk triggering nuclear war with North Korea.
The third message is that the nuclear-armed North Korea will be
a major boon to China and Russia. Nuclear-armed, the two
countries are friendless in case of war with the US. The US has
nuclear-armed allies, such as the UK and France. The Americans
have a network of military bases around the two countries, while
they have none. The presence of a mighty nuclear weapons state
in Korea should be most welcome to Russia and China.
The People's Republic of China has every reason to welcome a
nuclear-armed North Korea, whatever it may say in public. The
nuclear deterrence of North Korea is a major factor in reducing
US military pressure on China on the question of the
independence of Taiwan.
The fourth point is that the North Korea government of Kim does
not care at all whether Japan goes nuclear, or that South Korea
and Australia follow suit. In the first place, those countries
are practically nuclear-armed because they are under the nuclear
umbrella of the US and house American nuclear bases and because
Tokyo's military spending is 10 times that of Pyongyang's and
Seoul's defense budget is five times that of Pyongyang's. It is
too obvious that they are capable of acquiring nuclear weapons
at short notice.
The factor that has prevented them from developing their own
nuclear weapons is political pressure from the US, not because
North Korea was only conventionally armed. The US has insisted
that they should be under the nuclear umbrella and buy expensive
high-tech weapons from them.
Their becoming nuclear powers will signal that the US is no
longer a reliable cop. At long last de-Americanization of the US
allies and neutralization of the US in the rest of the world
will be set into motion. This is one of the reasons why the Kim
administration has every reason to secretly welcome the nuclear
arming of junior US allies.
The main enemy to North Korea is the US, the sole surviving
superpower in the world. Acquisition of hundreds of nuclear
weapons by Japan and South Korea will not have any serious
impact on the total balance of nuclear power. Japan and South
Korea have too much to lose in a nuclear war with North Korea,
while North Korea has little.
It is important to note that the nuclear weapons and long-range
means of delivery are not aimed at South Korea and will be
common property shared with South Korea under a confederated
The fifth and last point is a long, overdue farewell to the
nuclear non-proliferation regime, with the Bush administration
standing in the dock as prime defendant accused of sabotaging
nuclear non-proliferation. Had the Americans been steadfast in
upholding the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty by reducing their
nuclear weapons and respecting the sovereignty and independence
of the non-nuclear states, North Korea would not have felt any
need to defend itself with nuclear weapons.
A nuclear test by North Korea will go a long way toward
emboldening anti-American states around the world to acquire
nuclear weapons. There is a long line of candidate states.
It is important to note that the North Korean Foreign Ministry
pledges to faithfully implement its international commitment in
the field of nuclear non-proliferation as a responsible
nuclear-weapons state and to prohibit nuclear transfer.
Kim Myong-chol is author of a number of books and papers in
Korean, Japanese and English on North Korea. He is executive
director of the Center for Korean-American Peace. He has a PhD
from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Academy of
Social Sciences and is often called an "unofficial" spokesman of
Kim Jong-il and North Korea.
Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd.
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