“If Kim Jong-un has nuclear weapons and ICBMs, he can do anything. So I think the world should be ready to deal with this kind of person. Kim Jong-un is a man who can do anything beyond the normal imagination.”
The warning came from Thae Yong Ho, described as a high-profile defector from North Korea, during a recent interview by NBC News. As reported by the cyber site The Sun, Thae is a former deputy ambassador of North Korea in London, who, together with his family, defected to South Korea last year. In the interview, he predicted that Kim Jong-un would use nuclear weapons against the United States and the United Kingdom unless they “eliminate him first.” He said “the only real solution to the North Korean nuclear issue is to eliminate Kim Jung-on from the post.”
Although the report does not cite any direct connections between Thae and North Korea military strategists, particularly those involved in the country’s nuclear weapons program, it places emphasis on the defector’s assessment that the country is aiming to complete that program within the year.
According to the report, North Korea is estimated to have more than eight nuclear weapons but has not yet been able to show that it can attach them to a rocket capable of hitting the US mainland. But also according to the report, Thae believes North Korea has missiles capable of reaching the United States.
Truly alarming is this perception by the Nokor defector: That once Kim Jong-un sees any kind of a sign of an imminent threat from America, he would use his nuclear weapons with ICBM – intercontinental ballistic missiles – theoretically believed to be capable of hitting the US.
Of late, the US has been engaging Japan and South Korea in war exercises in the Korean peninsula. This has infuriated Kim Jong-un, seeing it as a not-so-veiled maneuver for aggression against his nation. In his characteristic penchant for diatribes against the US and a flair for world-class grandstanding, Jong-un vowed to reduce America to ashes. In like measure, President Donald Trump retorted that he would make the Korean leader “learn a lesson,” a statement which he immediately realized as “not tough enough” and so he qualified it with an appendage to the effect that Jong-un will learn that lesson “real fast.”
In the flurry of war rhetoric, the North Korean Ambassador to Russia, Kym Hyong-Jun, told Trump: “Our army has already said that if there will be even the smallest provocation from the United States during the exercises, we are ready to deliver the most ruthless blow. We have the readiness and ability to counter any challenge from the US.”
The tension in the Korean peninsula has definitely escalated, but so far it has been confined to an exchange of threats and intimidations between the two protagonists, the US and North Korea, with the former’s allies, Japan and Korea appearing to figure in the conflict only in the context of the ongoing naval exercises.
But doomsday scenarists seem to enjoy a heyday already. One blogsite, Independent, runs the following headline in big, bold fonts: “WORLD WAR FEARS, Kim Jong-un declares he’s on ‘the brink of a war’ with US as Donald Trump is urged to assassinate North Korean Despot.”
In the same blogsite, a lengthy story treats the tension as more of a reality already rather than just speculation. Here is the narrative:
“With or without Donald Trump’s help, Kim Jong-un could easily plunge the planet into its third world war inside a century. Of course this one will be vastly more destructive than the Great War, where even the use of aircraft was in its infancy – though sadly not chemical weapons – or World War II, which ended with the first and so far only use of nuclear weapons in war.
“To date Donald Trump has played a strong hand. He has installed anti-missile defences against the North inside South Korea. He is doing, more or less, what President Kennedy did in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and what President Reagan did in the Cold War in the 1980s: practicing brinkmanship, demonstrating strength, displaying resolve. The South Koreans are having elections now, and their new government, after May 9, may not be as resolute as its predecessor and the Trump administration. Yet while Pyongyang has the capacity to raze Seoul to the ground – even without nuclear weaponry – they may not protest too loudly.
“Like Kennedy and Reagan, Trump could prevail. Yet it is not tricky to see how things could spin out of control. Feeling abandoned and exposed, Kim could loose off a few missiles of his own, maybe towards Japan – always a popular target. True to recent form in Afghanistan (MOAB job) and Syria, President Trump could retaliate with a ‘surgical’ and ‘proportionate’ strike on some North Korean facility. Then what? North Korea sinks a South Korean warship. There are skirmishes on the ground. Some North Koreans manage to get themselves shot to ribbons. He chucks another missile over the border and it kills American troops. Trump escalates to bombing – conventionally – government buildings and those absurd statues of Kim’s dad and granddad. Kim sees his regime lethally threatened. He now sees no alternative, nothing to lose. A rat cornered, he unleashes his huge conventional forces, supported by Chinese and Russian diplomacy, hoping to get the Americans to back off and leave him in power. Tanks overwhelm the DMZ. American troops are massacred. The US is drawn in. China is faced with gigantic floods of refugees and refuses to permit American troops beyond a certain point near its border. What happens when the Japanese, Australian, NATO and other troops fight to defend South Korea? What would Vladimir Putin do? The Second Korean War will have begun, with the Third World War not far behind; the long-delayed playing out of the last legacies of the Second World War and the Cold War.”
But then nothing in the narrative cited is there a killing of Kim Jong-un. Doesn’t this then seem to reinforce the perception of the North Korean defector that America needs to assassinate Kim, or else he will fire his missiles against the US and UK – and thereby open up the floodgates to world conflagration?
The narrative ends in questions. No answers provided.