VPR comment for Thursday April 4th, 2013
INTRO: Tensions continue in Asia as
responds angrily to new United Nations sanctions and the latest U.S./South
Korean military exercises, with threats to attack South
Korea- and - with nuclear missiles.
This morning, commentator and veteran ABC News diplomatic correspondent America Dunsmore offers
his analysis. Barrie
TEXT: The new, inexperienced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s threat to use nuclear weapons against the American homeland can hardly be brushed aside as the same old North Korean bellicose rhetoric. Yet at the same time, I see no signs that the national security apparatus of the
is in full crisis mode. U.S.
There is a long history of
Korea making belligerent threats to annihilate
along with the approximately 28,000 American troops still stationed there. Over
the years, the three generations of the Kim dynasty have continued to blame the
“enemy” in Washington for the abject failure of North Korea’s own political and
economic system, often resorting to murder and extortion. Just three years ago,
the North Koreans torpedoed a South Korean naval vessel which went down with 46
sailors aboard. South Korea
Yet there is a tangible difference between past such incidents and what is happening today – namely-
now has nuclear
weapons. Last month, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence,
presented a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee which concluded that North Korea North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile
programs pose a “serious threat” to the U.S.
and its allies in Asia.
We know that the Kim regime fired a long range rocket in December and two months later it detonated underground what it called a “smaller and lighter” nuclear device. But there is no evidence in the public domain that the North Koreans actually have been able to “weaponize” their nuclear device. To do that they would have to make a nuclear warhead small enough and sufficiently sophisticated to be mounted onto one of their long range missiles. If they had achieved that capability, the alarm bells in
certainly be a lot louder than they are at the present. Washington
beefed up its presence in annual Korean military exercises with two nuclear
capable B-2 stealth bombers and other high-tech planes and ships. Yet in recent
days the White House has appeared to be trying to ease the growing tensions.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary said on Monday, “ We are not seeing
changes in the North Korean military posture such as large scale
mobilizations,” He described this is a “disconnect “ between North Korea’s
rhetoric and its actions. U.S.
The Kim regime responded by announcing it was going to restart what was once its main nuclear reactor, which might eventually increase its nuclear weapons stockpile. And Wednesday the North blocked South Korean workers from entering a huge industrial zone which is the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation - and a crucial money-maker for the North.
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