North Korea may well fulfil its threat to hit US targets on South Korean territory if continued pressure by Washington puts Pyongyang at an impasse, Pavel Zolotarev, a retired Russian Major General, told RT.
“A US strike against North Korea may go against common logic, but when a country is governed by propaganda – and the United States are going through such a period – political decisions go beyond rational logic, and there we can have consequences that are hard to foresee,” Zolotarev warned.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump promised to bring “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea if it doesn’t stop tests aimed at the developing a nuclear-tipped long-range ballistic missile. Than the next day he went even further to say that the “fire and fury” warning to North Korea may not have been “tough enough.”
Increased pressure from Washington may force the North to “be more assertive in terms of retaliatory measures,” with South Korea becoming hostage in this situation, he warned.
“Strikes may be carried out, targeting either US facilities in South Korea or the South Korean territory itself,” Zolotarev, who is the Deputy Director of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.
“One shouldn’t forget that the South Korean capital, Seoul, is within the reach of (North Korean) artillery,” he added.
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The expert stressed that claims by Korean People’s Army that they have plans worked out to strike US bases in Guam are “no bluff.”
“Every country’s military have to elaborate deployment strategies for any eventuality. It is politicians – not the military – who decide on whether or not to use such plans… So, if North Korean military talk of such plans, it means they actually have them,” he explained.
If the armed confrontation between the US and the North eventually breaks out, the Americans shouldn’t expect it to be a walk in the park, Zolotarev said.
“The North Korean military may inflict significant damage to US forces during a conventional conflict. Though their equipment is far beyond the American assets, their combat readiness and military morale are much higher,” he said.
‘N Koreans will sell last shirt for ICBM’
No threats from Washington or even the harshest sanctions will make Pyongyang abandon its plan to develop its own intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Aleksandr Tsalko, a Russian retired Air Force general, told RT.
“[The North Koreans] will sell the last shirt from their back, but will make [the missile],” Tsalko said.
However, he expressed doubt that Pyongyang currently has the capability to carry out nuclear strikes against American bases in Guam and elsewhere if attacked.
“They claim they have one, but having a long-range missile and being capable of delivering a nuclear strike are two different things. They need to make a nuclear warhead that their missile can carry, to learn how to hit a target with it at long range,” the co-founder of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policies said.
“I doubt North Korea now has a guidance system good enough for that. They can make a bang somewhere in the sea, but that’s all,” he added.
Despite the US being serious about North Korean claims that it tested an ICBM, the Russian military insists that its data shows that Pyongyang only fired a mid-range missile.
The former general said that while the US is overwhelmingly more powerful than North Korea, launching an attack at the country would come with a significant cost for America’s allies in the region, namely South Korea and Japan.
“However few short and intermediate-range missiles North Korea has, they are enough to cause unacceptable amount of damage, if a nuclear warhead is used,” he said.
“The Americans should have enough brains not to do it [attack Pyongyang]. As long as they don’t hurt North Korea, it will not take any action in return,” Tsalko said.