Bloomberg News is reporting that North Korea has threatened a nuclear response to the upcoming exercises in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea said it would counter U.S. and South Korean joint naval exercises with “nuclear deterrence” after the Obama administration said the government in Pyongyang shouldn’t take any provocative steps.
North Korea will “legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises to be staged by the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces,” the National Defense Commission said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The maneuvers, which involve 20 vessels and 200 aircraft from the U.S. and South Korea, pose a threat to the country’s sovereignty and security, Ri Tong Il, an official with North Korea’s delegation to the ASEAN Security Forum, told reporters in Hanoi yesterday.
Analysis. OK. We now know what Kim has up his sleeve. … Maybe. What is a bit unnerving is the apoplectic nature of the threat. Usually one presumes that nuclear weapons are used as a decisive weapon or for retaliation to the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. However, Soviet doctrine does talk about the immediate use of nuclear weapons to disable the opponents deterrent. North Korea is not capable of doing that.
Right now I believe that they are bluffing about using a nuclear weapon. I don’t believe that they have a deliverable nuclear weapon. Neither do I doubt that if they should have some kind of nuclear device that might be set up to use as a weapon that they might consider using it if frightened enough. Having said that, the DPRK is in the middle of a transition of leadership from Kim 2 to Kim 3. That may be why the DPRK is so upset over this exercise and the ones sure to follow.
There is little doubt in my mind that the Obama Administration has set itself on a course to topple the Kim family. The larger question is how far the People’s Republic of China will go to preserve the North as it now is? Upon the answer to that question rests the fate of Northeast Asia.