Bring U.S. nukes backNorth Korea carried out yet another nuclear test — its fifth and most powerful to date. A 5.03-magnitude seismic tremor was detected at the Punggye-ri nuclear site in North Hamgyong Province at 9:30 a.m. According to authorities, the tremor resulted from an explosion measuring about 10 kilotons, nearly double the size of the four previous tests. The U.S. seismological agency measured a 5.1-magnitude quake, which could suggest an underground blast of up to 17 kilotons, tantamount to the 15-kiloton Hiroshima atomic bombing. North Korea will be ready to put nuclear weapons in battle positions within a year. In other words, we can no longer shrug off its threats to fire nuclear warheads.
North Korea conducted two nuclear tests this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un. It blasted off more than 30 short- and mid-range missiles from land and under the sea. It showed it was going all-out with its nuclear weapons program. In the near future, North Korea could be able to miniaturize nuclear weapons enough to be carried on missiles fired off from rocket launchers and submarines.
Kim has clearly crossed a red line. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has reached an irreversible stage. The hope for denuclearization cannot be sustained. The government is required to entirely re-examine its defensive posture. It must shift to a proactive posture.
The Defense Ministry said it was implementing a three-pillared system against North Korean weapons threats. On top of the already known Kill Chain to preemptively destroy North Korea missiles and the Korean Air Missile Defense system for air strikes, the ministry will add the so-called Korean Massive Punishment and Retaliation program, which would authorize joint allied forces to attack the North Korean military command if the country causes nuclear damage. The military plans to back the program with precision missiles and specially trained forces. Korean and U.S. forces are also developing new type of preemptive-strike operations.
Seoul should persuade Washington to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula until the North Korean nuclear threat is removed. NATO allows jet fighters of members to mount tactical nuclear weapons. The South Korean president as well as the U.S.
president need to have the power to authorize the use of such weapons.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 10, Page 26
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