In an apparent attempt to demonstrate its resolve, North Korea fired a missile test last week followed by Sunday’s powerful nuclear test, claiming to have developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that could sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea’s rockets have crossed over Japan on two previous occasions – in 1998 and in 2009. North had warned before both launches and claimed these were for satellite/peaceful purposes.
The launch last week is being seen as the most threatening, most provocative ever; an overtly military missile over Japan. The missile flew to an altitude of 550 km before soaring eastwards – covering the whole of northern Japan (Hokkaido). It covered a distance of 2,700 km before falling into the North Pacific Ocean. It is believed that this newly developed (Hwasong-12) missile could have easily travelled double the distance.
The Japanese woke to “national missile alert” sirens. Japan is now actively preparing for conflict. South Korea dropped eight live bombs near the border with the North in an apparent show of “overwhelming force” simulating the destruction of North Korea’s leadership.
The launch appears to be the first one powerful enough to potentially carry a nuclear warhead. Nations have taken North Korea rather lightly in the past as some of their missions have failed even before launch and some did not go according to plan. This on the other hand – textbook launch!
North Korea has been mocked on several occasions as international satellites and international space agencies did not corroborate Pyongyang’s exaggerated claims of the launches. It’s different this time. Countries, including Japan, South Korea and the US, have admitted it was indeed a “perfect launch”.
North Korea has stealthily achieved what the world until now thought was way beyond its reach. Tuesday’s launch was indeed an astounding tactical surprise. North Korea should not have been allowed to reach so far in its nuclear arsenal build-up in the first place.
Sun Tzu – the great Chinese warrior/military strategist reinforced over two millennia ago the need for reconnaissance, “Only the wise use the highest intelligence for purposes of spying. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to!”
It’s a fiasco on the part of the US foreign intelligence agencies. America hasn’t been caught unaware for the first time. Dick Shelby, the then Chairman of the US Senate Committee on intelligence, called it a “colossal failure” on the CIA’s part when India set off three nuclear explosions in Pokhran (1974) one after the other – the CIA had no clue as to what on earth was happening!
It has become abundantly clear now that North Korea’s claims that it was well capable of hitting parts of the US weren’t farcical. The “Supreme Leader” (at a tender age of 33!) has warned President Trump and said, “We will reduce the White House to ashes if you fire a single bullet in our
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