"The Next Korean War"


The Next Korean War[/b]
Using the military is an option. Here’s how it can be done.

Monday, August 4, 2003 12:01 a.m.

The White House had a shape-of-the-table announcement last week: North Korea would participate in six-sided talks with the U.S., China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. This was welcome but it changes nothing fundamental. Kim Jong Il has clearly demonstrated his capacity for falsehood in multilateral as well as bilateral forums. The bigger, and much worse, news is the overall course of events this summer.

In early July, krypton 85 was detected in locations that suggested that this gas, produced when spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed into plutonium for nuclear weapons, may have emanated from a site other than North Korea’s known reprocessing facility at Yongbyon.

There would be nothing surprising about a hidden reprocessing plant–North Korea has thousands of underground facilities. But if the reprocessing of the 8,000 spent fuel rods that the North Koreans took out of storage at Yongbyon last January–when it ousted international inspectors and walked away from the Non-Proliferation Treaty–has been completed clandestinely, then Kim Jong Il may already have enough material for several more weapons to go with the one or two he is thought to have from previous reprocessing.


But even if the krypton was emanating from Yongbyon, this still means that several additional bombs’ worth of plutonium could be available a few months from now. Add this to Pyongyang’s breach of the 1994 Agreed Framework by its secret uranium-enrichment program, and its boast in April that it would sell weapons-grade plutonium to whomever it pleased (rogue states? terrorist groups?), and it is apparent that the world has weeks to months, at most, to deal with this issue, not months to years.

Interdiction of shipments out of North Korea will not stop the export of such fissionable material. Even if current efforts for nations to intercept North Korean shipping are successful, this would be completely inadequate to the purpose. The North Koreans’ principal exports today are ballistic missiles and illegal drugs, both clandestine. As former Secretary of Defense William Perry recently noted, the amount of plutonium needed for a bomb is about the size of a soccer ball.

There is no reason the North Koreans would refrain from using air shipments, including those protected by diplomatic immunity, to smuggle and sell such material.

In the midst of the just announced six-way talks, one fact stands out: The only chance for a peaceful resolution of this crisis before North Korea moves clearly into the ranks of nuclear powers is for China to move decisively. Indeed we see no alternative but for China to use its substantial economic leverage, derived from North Korea’s dependence on it for fuel and food, to press, hard and immediately, for a change in regime. Kim Jong Il’s regime has shown that agreements signed with it, by anyone, mean nothing.

What could induce China to follow such an uncharacteristically decisive course? North Korea’s escalating nuclear aspirations run the risk of creating not one but four new nuclear powers in Asia. South Korea, Japan and probably Taiwan will find it very difficult to refrain from moving toward nuclear capability as North Korea becomes more threatening. Also, China must be clearly told that North Korea’s long-range ballistic missile program and the prospect of its sale of fissionable material to terrorists make this a direct matter of U.S. security. Presidents Bush and Roh declared in May that they will “not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”

Unfortunately, the reflexive rejection in the public debate of the use of force against North Korea has begun to undermine U.S. ability both to influence China to act and to take the preparatory steps necessary for effectiveness if force should be needed. The U.S. and South Korea must instead come together and begin to assess realistically what it would take to conduct a successful military operation to change the North Korean regime.

It is not reasonable to limit the use of force to a surgical strike destroying Yongbyon. Although the facility would need to be destroyed, the possible existence of another plutonium reprocessing plant or of uranium-enrichment facilities, or of plutonium hidden elsewhere, makes it infeasible to limit the use of force to such a single objective. Moreover, military action against North Korea must protect South Korea from certain attack (particularly from artillery just north of the DMZ that can reach Seoul). In short, we must be prepared to win a war, not execute a strike.

U.S. and South Korean forces have spent nearly half a century preparing to fight and win such a war. We should not be intimidated by North Korea’s much-discussed artillery. Around half of North Korea’s 11,000-plus artillery pieces, some of them in caves, are in position to fire on Seoul. But all are vulnerable to stealth and precision weapons–e.g., caves can be sealed by accurate munitions.

Massive air power is the key to being able both to destroy Yongbyon and to protect South Korea from attack by missile or artillery. There is a significant number of hardened air bases available in South Korea and the South Koreans have an excellent air force of approximately 550 modern tactical aircraft. The U.S. should begin planning immediately to deploy the Patriot tactical ballistic missile defense system plus Aegis ships to South Korea and Japan, and also to reinforce our tactical air forces by moving in several air wings and aircraft carrier battle groups, together with the all-important surveillance aircraft and drones.

The goal of the planning should be to be prepared on short notice both to destroy the nuclear capabilities at Yongbyon and other key North Korean facilities and to protect South Korea against attack by destroying North Korean artillery and missile sites. Our stealth aircraft, equipped with precision bombs, and cruise missiles will be crucial–these weapons can be tailored to incinerate the WMD and minimize radiation leakage.

The key point is that the base infrastructure available in the region and the accessibility of North Korea from the sea should make it possible to generate around 4,000 sorties a day compared to the 800 a day that were so effective in Iraq. When one contemplates that the vast majority of these sorties would use precision munitions, and that surveillance aircraft would permit immediate targeting of artillery pieces and ballistic missile launch sites, we believe the use of air power in such a war would be swifter and more devastating than it was in Iraq. North Korea’s geriatric air defenses–both fighter aircraft and missiles–would not last long. As the Iraqis understood when facing our air power, if you fly, you die.

Marine forces deployed off both coasts of North Korea could put both Pyongyang and Wonson at risk of rapid seizure, particularly given the fact that most of North Korea’s armed forces are situated along the DMZ. With over 20 of the Army’s 33 combat brigades now committed it would be necessary to call up additional Reserve and National Guard units. However, the U.S. forces that would have the greatest immediate effect are Expeditionary Air Forces and Carrier Battle Groups, most of which have now been removed from the Iraqi theater.


The South Korean Army is well equipped to handle a counteroffensive into North Korea with help from perhaps two additional U.S. Army divisions, together with the above-mentioned Marine Expeditionary Force and dominant air power. We judge that the U.S. and South Korea could defeat North Korea decisively in 30 to 60 days with such a strategy. Importantly, there is “no doubt on the outcome” as the chairman of the JCS, Gen. Meyers, said at his reconfirmation hearing on July 26 to the Senate.

We are not eager to see force used on the Korean peninsula. It is better to resolve this crisis without war. However, unless China succeeds in ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons development–and we believe this will require a change in regime–Americans will be left with the threat to our existence described by Secretary Perry when he recently said that the North Korean nuclear program “poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities.”

We can hate it that we are forced now to confront this choice. But we should not take refuge in denial.

Mr. Woolsey was CIA director from 1993-95. Gen. McInerney, a retired three-star Air Force lieutenant general and former assistant vice chief of staff, is a Fox News military analyst.

If you can’t fight them, join them:

US scraps nuclear weapons watchdog
guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,1 … 97,00.html

Well not to say the decision would not have been difficult but looking back at the Peace in Our Time deal arranged by Clinton and who else but that wannabe martyr Carter, North Korea now has 6 bombs. Had the Yongbon site been “taken out” in 1994 perhaps it would have none. Well, peace is always more important unless the other side does not follow the rules right?

I read somewhere that Yongban would not even need to have been bombed. Just drop some steel bars from 10,000 feet and they would have punctured the site all to hell. Too bad it was not tried in 1994. Now things are much more serious. Though not doubt in Rascal’s book North Korea and the US are moral equivalents? haha

opinionjournal.com/columnist … =110003930

So, Where Is Ms. Cho?[/b]
Give the people of North Korea a seat at the table.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003 12:01 a.m.

Today through Friday, the six-way talks with North Korea are due to take place in Beijing, and though I know I’m dreaming, here’s the script I’d like to see:

Our lead negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, looks at the assembled crowd–at his Russian and Chinese and Japanese and Korean counterparts, from both North and South–and before saying a word about nuclear bombs, or security guarantees, or any more blackmail payoffs for Kim Jong Il of North Korea, before doing any of the things this gang might be expecting, Mr. Kelly leans forward to ask the following, vital question:

Where is Ms. Cho?

There is, perhaps, a puzzled silence. Then someone, maybe one of the Chinese hosts, who did after all suggest that America should come with issues ready to put on the table, asks, Who is Ms. Cho?

Mr. Kelly beckons mysteriously, and leads the entire parade, the Russians and Japanese and Koreans and Chinese, to a van waiting outside Beijing’s Diaoyutai state guesthouse, where they are meeting. They drive to the Beijing Foreign Ministry, because it matters to see these places firsthand, and there they get out. And, standing in front of the Ministry, Mr. Kelly explains:

Ms. Cho is a North Korean escapee who came here, to this very spot, a year ago yesterday, Aug. 26, 2002, with six other North Koreans, all of them risking their lives in an attempt to ask the Chinese government for refugee status. They were following United Nations procedure to ask for asylum. Ms. Cho tried to give the Chinese authorities a document stating that she had left North Korea “in search of freedom,” and if sent back “will certainly be executed in accordance with Article 47 of the DPRK penal code.” She was very brave. She was 27 years old.

Cho Sung-hye and her companions were hoping the free world would hear their message, and help not only them, but hundreds of thousands of other people trying to flee North Korea. Instead, Chinese security agents arrested Ms. Cho and her companions on the spot. There has been no news of them since.

So, where is Ms. Cho?


In all likelihood, there is no more Ms. Cho, though she was real enough, in her checked shirt, with her long hair pulled back, when she posed for a snapshot in Beijing last summer, just before her failed bid for official refugee status. Certainly she has not surfaced in the free world. Most probably, the Chinese authorities, following routine procedure, sent Ms. Cho and her six fellow asylum-seekers back to North Korea, where the authorities, following routine procedure, either executed them or consigned them to labor camps that can amount to a slow and hideous death sentence, by starvation, if not by torture, beatings, exposure or disease.

But Ms. Cho, in her absence, ought to haunt that Beijing negotiating table this week. In approaching the Chinese Foreign Ministry last year, she offered herself up as a symbol of all North Koreans who might desire freedom, especially the 200,00-300,000 estimated to be hiding right now in China–where authorities have yet to grant a single one of them the refugee status they warrant.

These are not purely humanitarian concerns, though the North Korean government’s policies of murdering and starving its own innocents ought at some point to be of interest even to diplomats discussing high matters of state. Beyond whatever happened to Ms. Cho, there are the estimated two million or so North Koreans dead of state-inflicted famine since the mid-1990s. (Though the North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il, attending the current talks, doubtless eats well.)

But whatever talks may now in reality take place, it would be of considerable value for our talkers to keep in mind–even beyond North Korea’s huge, horrendous record of lies, and broken promises about its nuclear bomb program–that regimes which routinely betray, brutalize and butcher their own people are unlikely to deal in good faith with others. It is a rather different set of values they have signed onto.

The odd inversion of our official dealings with North Korea over the past decade or so is that we have brought to talks with North Korea’s government our own civilized expectations that promises will be kept, and good faith will be returned in kind. Meanwhile, the free world has been treating the actual people of North Korea–the Ms. Chos–as pariahs, people to be shunned, sent back, ignored if it will help us strike another hollow deal with Kim Jong Il.

Among the governments whose negotiators are meeting around that Beijing table this week, there is not one that has offered true help for North Korea’s refugees–many of whom might also be described as dissidents, defectors, the kind of people we need to be listening to, even asking for help, not sending back, or hushing up. China is shamefully guilty in its refusal to allow even safe transit for these people. Russia, with its pretensions to leadership in world affairs and vast empty spaces in the Russian Far East, could offer enormous help, but does nothing. Japan is at least trying to get some people out of North Korea, though Tokyo’s first priority, understandably, is the recovery of Japanese kidnapped by the North Korean government.

America, erstwhile haven for the tempest-tossed, seems to have room for refugees from everyplace on earth–except North Korea. And though America serves as home to many a would-be-democratic-government in exile, there is no such North Korean presence here, no resistance movement. Nothing. Plenty of North Koreans have tried to escape the regime of Kim Jong Il. But, dear readers, have you ever met one? Or even seen one on television?


Instead, the free world looks to South Korea as the keeper of this important human trust–to offer a haven for North Koreans who value freedom. Usually, it is in such havens that exiles from tyrannies can form a base, get out the word about atrocities back home, offer insights into the vulnerabilities of tyrants and find ways to smuggle into the tyrannies some words of truth and hope.

But in today’s South Korea, fat chance. This is the place where authorities have twice this past week roughed up German doctor Norbert Vollertsen, the single loudest voice trying for three years now to draw attention to the depravities of the North Korean government, the plight of the people still there, and the civilized world’s utter abandonment of the refugees. There was some attention in the news last week to the efforts of Mr. Vollertsen and some of his activist colleagues to send solar-powered radios into North Korea, attached to balloons–which the South Korean authorities stopped them from doing. The prohibition and the beating of Mr. Vollertsen that accompanied it, underscore Mr. Vollertsen’s message–which is not simply that conditions in North Korea rival the atrocities under Nazi Germany, and that some refugees are desperate enough to die trying to escape. It is also that the civilized world, South Korea at the forefront, simply does not want to see, hear, know, or help, and in ignoring the 22 million people of North Korea, while we parley with their jailers, we throw away our best hope of peacefully ending this nightmare.

In a phone conversation from Seoul last weekend, Mr. Vollertsen suggested to me that there should be not six-way but seven-way talks in Beijing this week, “Why are there no North Korean refugees participating?,” he asked.

That’s not how our diplomacy works right now, unfortunately. But the real issue in dealing with Pyongyang is not a matter of bribing Kim Jong Il to let us go on a scavenger hunt for plutonium in North Korea. It’s a matter of finding the backbone, and the allies–especially among the North Koreans themselves–to get rid of Mr. Kim and his regime entirely. And that starts with the question:

Where is Ms. Cho?

Ms. Rosett is a columnist for OpinionJournal.com and The Wall Street Journal Europe. Her column appears alternate Wednesdays.

Few have any hopes for the talks.

The NKs are complete and utter psychos.

Let’s hope that China will face up to its regional reponsibility here.

[color=darkblue]Until recently China regarded promises to curb its nuclear and missile sales as little more than concessions to America, to be torn up whenever relations turned sour. Its nose-thumbing deals with Pakistan, Iran, Syria and others had plenty of nuisance value and brought in dollops of cash. Only now are China’s leaders realising the cost to their own security.

By helping to contain the nuclear threat from North Korea, China is undoing some of the damage its past promiscuous sales have caused. Yet it could do a lot more. Despite a string of new export-control laws, Chinese firms are still supplying illicit weapons, technology and materials. [/color]
China’s nuclear Diplomacy. The Economist. Aug. 21, 2003. (subcribe to read the online version… please read The Economist instead of that piece of shite- The Guardian).

Yes I read that also. Perhaps my optimism is displaced, but if China wishes to be a superpower then it must assume superpower responsibilities. It’s entirely fitting that China “police” this part of the world, so let’s hope.

[quote=“E-clectic”]Yes I read that also. Perhaps my optimism is displaced, but if China wishes to be a superpower then it must assume superpower responsibilities. It’s entirely fitting that China “police” this part of the world, so let’s hope.[/quote]The Chinese can’t even stand in a straight line at 7-11, how are they gonna police the world?

… oh wait, yeah, America is clumsy, too.

But I doubt China is idealistic enough to send it’s troops abroad to provide security for another region.


I believe that the Chinese are maintaining security and stability in places such as Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau (and I am sure that they would be willing to do so in Taiwan). :wink:

Actually, what happens if there is a nuclear north korea. No real big deal for the US but certainly one for China when Japan goes nuclear, South Korea goes nuclear and Taiwan goes nuclear. Whoops not exactly what the Chinese were hoping to accomplish.

The real threat to the US is not from north korea having nuclear weapons but from having Pyongyang selling them all over the place to whatever fuckwit has a grievance with unpaid parking tickets at Disneyland that particular day. If this were not an ever present danger, I would say fuck them all and let the whole region go nuclear. Then Japan could guarantee its own security and that of South Korea if it so desired and the US could pack up and move out. I am pleased as punch to see Rumsfeld moving ahead to remove all US troops out of the DMZ. It is after all the South Koreans who should be responsible for their own security. They are big enough to look after themselves.