North Korea war ‘may be only option’

North Korea war ‘may be only option’, by Michael Evans.

The US is “rapidly and dangerously” edging closer to taking military action against North Korea’s nuclear missile program, a former general close to President Trump says.

Jack Keane, a four-star general who declined a role in the cabinet, said: “A pre-emptive strike against launch facilities, underground nuclear sites, artillery and rocket response forces and regime leadership targets may be the only option left on the table. We are rapidly and dangerously moving towards a military option.”

Mr Trump is trying to work out how to defuse what his advisers say is his biggest foreign threat — the prospect of Kim Jong-un developing a nuclear missile capable of reaching Los Angeles.

At the weekend he told The Financial Times: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” …

Mr Trump’s aides have refused to say that military action against North Korea is off the table.

They believe that Mr Kim is on course to develop the capability to hit the continental US with a nuclear missile within four years. In January, before his inauguration, Mr Trump said on Twitter: “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US. It won’t happen!” …

Most ordinary people in South Korea favour negotiations with the North. US security analysts have urged Mr Trump to offer Mr Kim incentives to freeze its nuclear program. Diplomatic progress could be rewarded with a reduction of military exercises between the South and the US. China, it is said, would be more likely to back a strategy combining pressure with negotiation. Talks could be convened between China, North Korea, South Korea and the United States to negotiate a treaty formally ending the Korean War.

Last May Mr Trump said that he could hold negotiations with Mr Kim. “Who the hell cares? I’ll speak to anybody,” he said. “There’s a 10 per cent or 20 per cent chance I could talk him out of having his damn nukes, because who the hell wants him to have nukes?” …

General Keane was sceptical that diplomacy and sanctions would work to disarm Mr Kim. “Our last three presidents spanning over 20 years have failed to stop the North Korean nuclear program,” he said. …

The Trump team, General Keane said, would be the fourth White House administration to try to coerce China to force North Korea to denuclearise. “Hopefully they will succeed. North Korea’s reckless march towards war, destabilising the Korean peninsula and the Trump team’s commitment to stop them may finally be the nexus that is indeed persuasive to the Chinese to get serious about North Korea,” he said.

Kim Jong-un can unleash most devastating war in generations, by Richard Parry.

The Korean People’s Army is short on fuel for its vehicles, short on spare parts for its fighting machines and short on supplies for its troops. Even its soldiers are short — malnutrition has left them several inches smaller than their well-fed southern counterparts.

But North Korea has made itself the master of what is known as “asymmetrical warfare”, a strategy that invests, not in head-to-head confrontation, but in carefully chosen, specialist attacks on the enemy’s weak points using small, highly-trained covert units. …

It could begin with the deployment, on camouflaged mobile launchers, of all the nuclear warheads to have survived the initial US attack. The North is believed to have 20 of these. They are not yet capable of reaching the American mainland, but even if only a handful survived they could put mushroom clouds over Seoul, Tokyo and even the US garrison island of Guam.

Meanwhile, if the North’s chain of command held, 3,000 “information soldiers” of the Reconnaissance General Bureau would likely launch cyber-attacks in an attempt to knock out power infrastructure and South Korean and US weapons systems. Others would jam GPS signals, sowing confusion in the air and on the sea.

Small teams of commandos would be landed behind US and South Korean lines, by parachute and submarine, with orders to attack ports, airports and nuclear power stations and to spread terror. Seoul estimates that the North has 200,000 troops in its special forces. Sleeper agents in the South, Japan and beyond would be activated to carry out sabotage and possibly suicide attacks. …

The North would quickly be defeated on the battlefield, but diehards would retreat to the hills and use stocks of hidden arms to launch a guerilla war that could last years.