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October 10, 2006
North Korea Threatens Nuclear Launch

Kim Jong-Il either needs a hug or a straitjacket. North Korea followed its rogue nuclear test by issuing an explicit threat to attack the US with a nuclear missile unless we allowed Pyongyang to operate its counterfeiting business without interference:

A North Korean official threatened that communist nation could fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the U.S. acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

"We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes," the unnamed official said on Monday, according to a Yonhap report from Beijing. "That depends on how the U.S. will act."

Yonhap didn't say how or where it contacted the official, why no name was given or why it delayed reporting until Tuesday. ...

"We have lost enough. Sanctions can never be a solution," the official said. "We still have a willingness to give up nuclear weapons and return to six-party talks as well. It's possible whenever the U.S. takes corresponding measures."

The official didn't elaborate on what the corresponding measures would be. But one of them is believed to be a long-standing North Korean demand that Washington lift financial restrictions imposed on the communist regime for its alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

I wrote a few minutes ago about China's reassessment of their relationship with the Kim regime; this is likely to speed that process considerably. Given that we will not grant Kim a franchise to print US currency nor allow him to flood the global financial system with fake $100 bills, the situation appears to be heading towards a war that only Kim wants to fight. Even threatening such a launch provides the US with a casus belli, if it chose to act on it.

Obviously, we'd prefer to avoid it, and for a number of reasons. Any limited strike on North Korea would result in a launch of tens of thousands of rockets on Seoul, which could reduce the city to dust. This isn't Hezbollah in Lebanon, after all, and Seoul is too close to the DMZ to protect it adequately from the threat. We would not be able to eliminate that threat without carpet-bombing North Korea -- and even if we did, we'd have to face off against the DPRK army, which would no doubt swarm across the border. We could be back to 1950 within days. Pusan perimeter, anyone?

Nevertheless, we may be left with no choices other than war and blackmail. China can't seem to keep control of its client any more, and South Korea's attempts at appeasement disappeared in a seismic boom two days ago. I would expect that the next attempt to launch a missile will get much more attention from the American military, and that may just take us into a conflict that we should have been ready to fight in 1994 -- and which Bill Clinton was prepared to fight, at least publicly, until Jimmy Carter interfered with American foreign policy and forced Clinton to back down.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 10, 2006 5:30 AM

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» Norko official begs U.S. to wipe his country off the map from Strange Women Lying in Ponds
At, if this quote is accurate:A North Korean official threatened that communist nation could fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the U.S. acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday. We hope the situation will be r... [Read More]

Tracked on October 10, 2006 6:51 AM

» And if you thought that was something.... from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
Looks like the Dear Loon Leader has struck again: USA Today reports that an unnamed North Korean source has threatened to fire a nuclear missile at the US, unless we do whatever it is they want: The North, meanwhile, stepped [Read More]

Tracked on October 10, 2006 4:03 PM


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