What Can Be Done About North Korea?

Frederick Owens
September 22, 2017

Some experts in the military and missile defense fields believe that even if the USA had information that North Korea posed a real threat to America, or one of its allies, they may not be able to shoot down a missile headed for a target.

In his first address to United Nations, US President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with total destruction if it attacks the US or its allies.

Spain, Peru and Kuwait, according to news reports, also have ordered North Korean ambassadors and envoys out of their countries.

"In case the U.S. opts for confrontation and war... it will meet a frightful nuclear strike and miserable and final ruin", North Korea said. Mattis noted that there are military options that would not put South Korea at grave risk, but declined to explain further.

Seoul is within artillery range of North Korea, which is also believed to have a sizable chemical and biological arsenal beyond nuclear and conventional weapons.

Since Kim Jong Un took power in North Korea in late 2011, his nation has tested weapons at a torrid pace.

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Amid calls for the United States and Japan to shoot down such missiles, Mattis said there was no need to do so because they were not a direct threat. But Joseph Cirincione, who is the founder of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, says the United States and Japan do not even have the capability to intercept a missile launched at that altitude. Later in September, North Korea fired a ballistic missile which passed through Japan's airspace near Hokkaido.

That same day the US and South Korea flew eight fighter jets and two bombers over the Korean peninsula as a show of force, according to a South Korean defense ministry statement.

The North has repeatedly defied the United Nations to conduct nuclear and missile tests, the latest being a mid-range missile fired over Japan on Friday, soon after the reclusive nation's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

It also noted that sanctions should not harm "legitimate economic and trade exchanges between North Korea and the outside world" and the lives of everyday people. She said that the U.S. might hand control of dealing with Pyongyang to the military, adding North Korea would be "destroyed" if it did not halt its nuclear and missile programs. On Monday, he spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and both leaders "committed to maximizing pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions", according to a statement released by the White House.

Instead, he said, the worldwide community should strictly implement the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the U.N. Security Council. South Korea says the USA military flew powerful bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula in joint drills with South Korean warplanes.

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