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The Koreas: News, Discussions & Updates

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by lca-fan, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    China, Russia send ships after U.S. aircraft carrier
    The Japan News/Yomiuri
    First Published Apr 16 2017 01:15PM • Updated 5 hours ago
    [​IMG]


    China and Russia have dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is heading toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, multiple sources of the Japanese government revealed to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

    It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea. The Self-Defense Forces are strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.

    The aircraft carrier strike group, composed of the Carl Vinson at its core with guided-missile destroyers and other vessels, is understood to be around the East China Sea and heading north toward waters near the Korean Peninsula.

    China and Russia, which prioritize stability in the Korean Peninsula, showed concern over the tough U.S. stance, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the issue should be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic efforts.

    The dispatch of the intelligence-gathering vessels appears to be partly aimed at sending a warning signal to the United States.

    Following the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding father, on April 15, North Korea will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its military on April 25. It maintains the stance that it intends to conduct its first nuclear test since September last year, which would be its sixth test, and test-launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    By conducting joint exercises with the Maritime Self-Defense Force and through other means, the U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is poised to increase military pressure on North Korea and urge Pyongyang to engage in restraint.

    Source
     
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  2. Zen0

    Zen0 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    US doen't have the balls to annex n.korea , they know kim is suicidal enough to launch the nukes
     
  3. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    China’s Korea policy ‘in tatters’ as both North and South defy sanctions

    [​IMG]


    Simon Denyer April 17 at 9:22 AM

    BEIJING — More than half a century ago, hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops died in the Korean War, fighting on the side of their communist allies in the North against the U.S.-backed South. Yet today, China finds itself in the uncomfortable position of falling out with both sides on the Korean Peninsula.

    On Monday, South Korea announced that it would press ahead with the “swift deployment” of a U.S. missile defense system despite vociferous Chinese opposition.

    In February, China said it was cutting off coal imports from North Korea in accordance with sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council in a bid to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear and missile program. On Sunday, North Korea ignored China’s pleas not to raise regional tensions by conducting another missile test, albeit one that failed.

    China has also imposed unofficial and unilateral sanctions against South Korea to persuade it not to deploy the missile defense system, experts say. On Monday, as Vice President Pence warned North Korea not to test U.S. resolve, South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, vowed to rapidly deploy that system, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

    Vice President Pence warned North Korea not to test President Trump during a press conference in South Korea on April 17, citing "the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” as examples. (The Washington Post)
    “Even before the United States upped the tempo, China was in the unusual position of having really very bad relations with both the North and the South — that’s something of an accomplishment,” said Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. “Its peninsula policy was in tatters, and things have only got worse since.”

    China is not alone in struggling to construct a successful policy toward North Korea, as the United States can attest. But the failure of its approach has seldom been more starkly outlined, as Pyongyang presses ahead with its nuclear program, the United States sends an aircraft carrier strike group to the region and fears of military conflict mount, analysts say.

    Beijing and Washington share the same goal — a peninsula free of nuclear weapons — but they often appear to be trying to realize that goal in mutually incompatible ways.

    Under President Barack Obama, the United States tried to isolate and pressure North Korea economically, an approach that China argues has raised tensions and forced its leader, Kim Jong Un — and his father before him — into a corner.

    China had banked on a different approach, believing that building up North Korea’s economy would gradually bring about more moderate politics. That policy, though, has simply given North Korea the resources and the technology to build up its nuclear and missile programs, experts say.

    Nor has it brought Beijing the leverage it desires: Kim has never met Chinese President Xi Jinping, and channels of communication between the two governments have never been thinner, experts say.


    “China’s hope-based approach has encountered Kim Jong Un’s ‘I’ll have my cake and eat it’ approach,” Graham said. “What’s changed in the political relationship is Kim Jong Un’s total willingness to humiliate China, to slap it in the face, not to give China even the ritual obeisance his father did.”

    China believes that the deployment of THAAD, with its sophisticated radar and missile defense capabilities, on its doorstep will allow the United States to spy on it and undermine its national security interests.

    It has whipped up nationalist outrage against South Korea over the issue, with the sale of package tours to the country abruptly halted in March and tourist numbers plunging. State-run media has called for boycotts of South Korean businesses and goods, and primary-school children have even been encouraged to stage protests. South Korean films were barred from a recent international movie festival in Beijing, and music videos were blocked on streaming services.

    Lotte, a South Korean conglomerate that turned over land for THAAD use, has faced huge losses as 87 of its 99 stores in China reportedly have been closed, mostly for ostensibly breaching fire regulations.

    But even as Beijing tries to persuade Seoul to cancel the deployment of THAAD, Pyongyang shows utter disregard for China’s interests by launching missile after missile, making the case for the defense system ever stronger.

    Now, Beijing has a new headache — brinkmanship not just from Kim but also from President Trump, experts say, with the threat of U.S. military action against North Korea on the table.

    There is little doubt this has focused minds in Beijing.

    Trump spoke to Xi about North Korea by telephone last week. He later said that China is “working with us on the North Korean problem.”

    But despite its frustration with Pyongyang, is Beijing really prepared to turn up the heat on its old ally?

    There appear to be some within the Communist Party who think it should.

    The nationalist Global Times newspaper argued in an editorial Sunday that China should send a clear message to North Korea: If you conduct a sixth nuclear test, we will cut off the vast majority of your oil imports, through stiffer U.N. sanctions.

    Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said Beijing is “still hesitant” to take such a radical step, one that would threaten the fuel supplies that keep the North Korean military running.

    Indeed, if the United States continues to turn up the heat, with more verbal threats or an even more robust naval presence, China could flip the other way, Shi argues — decide that Washington is the real threat to stability on the peninsula and “shift from suppressing North Korea to opposing the United States.”

    Even though coal imports from North Korea appear to have been cut, and Air China canceled some direct flights between Beijing and Pyongyang this week, overall imports and exports between the two countries were up sharply in the first quarter of this year, data released by Chinese customs showed.

    In the final analysis, some experts say, the legacy of the Korean War and the survival of the regime China backed at the cost of so much blood remain paramount.

    “China may marginally increase economic pressure on North Korea by cutting down trade, tourist flows or food aid, but its primary goal is to placate Washington,” said Yanmei Xie, a politics and foreign policy expert at Gavekal Dragonomics. “Beijing has reasons and means to discipline Kim but is more concerned with ensuring the survival of his regime, thus maintaining a buffer against U.S. military presence in the South.”



    Congcong Zhang contributed to this report.
     
  4. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    They are saying the Korean already have 30 nukes.
     
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  5. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    What military strike? US war fleet still thousands of kilometres from Korea

    Speculation of an imminent US attack against Pyongyang’s weapons programme appears premature, with carrier fleet last seen off coast of Indonesia




    [​IMG]


    A strike group headed by the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson is still thousands of kilometres from the Korean peninsula and has yet to head north, according to the latest photographs issued by the US Navy, dampening speculation in the world’s media that a US military strike might be imminent against North Korea’s nuclear programme.

    An image from the US military dated on Saturday show the carrier on a “scheduled deployment” at the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, several hundred kilometres south of Singapore.

    The vessel left the city-state on April 8.

    The deployment of the strike group to waters off the Korean peninsula created headlines around the world after US President Donald Trump said his administration was committed to solving the problem of Pyongyang’s weapons programme, alone if necessary.

    The latest known location of the USS Carl Vinson was earlier reported by the US military news outlet Defense News.

    Trump has ordered the strike group to sail near the Korean peninsula as a show of force aimed at deterring North Korea from conducting more missiles tests.

    The vessels were, however, operating about 5,600 km from the peninsula, according to Defence News.

    The report added that the carrier was taking part in scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean.

    The article also dismissed speculation that the strikes groups for the carriers USS Ronald Reagan and Nimitz could join with the USS Vinson.[​IMG]





    The USS Reagan is undergoing maintenance in Japan, scheduled for complete in May.

    The US-based Nimitz and her strike group is off southern California and is scheduled to deploy this spring to relieve the USS Vinson in the western Pacific, the report added.

    Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the Pentagon’s lack of clarity about the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson strike group was adding to tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    “Obviously, it’s an intimidatory tactic adopted by the Trump administration to push Kim Jong-un to yield to Washington’s carrier threats,” Li said.[​IMG]


    “Such a tactic is very like Trump’s style, but I don’t think it’s a good way to handle the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula because Kim will not compromise with threats. He wants to get some pragmatic promises from the US, China and Russia to secure his regime.”

    Source
     
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  6. cuibw99

    cuibw99 FULL MEMBER

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    I feel like China indeed didn't do the good job for well controlling NK to have it not developing nuclear weapons, because it looks like both US, SK and Japan get benefit from a NK with nuclear weapon. I only can see negative impact to China for a nuclear armed NK and I think China government understand it clearly but just didn't get the job done.

    Instead, a NK without nuclear weapon and allied with China is the situation US/NK/Japan don't want to see.
     
  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    North Korea warns of 'super-mighty preemptive strike' as U.S. plans next move
    By: Ju-min Park, Reuters, April 20, 2017 (Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
    SEOUL — North Korean state media warned the United States of a "super-mighty preemptive strike" after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme.

    U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from sole major ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

    The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, did not mince its words.


    [​IMG]
    North Korean soldiers with weapons attend military training in an undisclosed location.
    Photo Credit: KCNA/Reuters

    "In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes," it said.

    Reclusive North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and has shown no let-up in its belligerence after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

    "We're reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held," Tillerson told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, on a tour of Asian allies, has said repeatedly an "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to London the military option must be part of the pressure brought to bear.


    [​IMG]
    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about Iran and North Korea after reading a statement at the State Department, on April 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
    Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    "Allowing this dictator to have that kind of power is not something that civilised nations can allow to happen," he said in reference to Kim.

    Ryan said he was encouraged by the results of efforts to work with China to reduce tension, but that it was unacceptable North Korea might be able to strike allies with nuclear weapons.

    North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

    'MAX THUNDER'

    South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meeting with top officials on Thursday, repeatedly called for the military and security ministries to maintain vigilance.

    The defence ministry said U.S. and South Korean air forces were conducting an annual training exercise, codenamed Max Thunder, until April 28. North Korea routinely labels such exercises preparations for invasion.

    "We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever," South Korean pilot Colonel Lee Bum-chul told reporters. "Through this exercise, I am sure we can deter war and remove our enemy's intention to provoke us."

    South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a debate over the planned deployment in South Korea of a U.S.-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which has angered China.

    Frontrunner Moon Jae-in was criticized for leaving his options open before the May 9 election.



    On Monday, Hwang and Pence reaffirmed their plans to go ahead with the THAAD, but the decision will be up to the next South Korean president. For its part, China says the system's powerful radar is a threat to its security.

    The North has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.

    RUSSIA, U.S. AT ODDS

    The United States and Russia clashed at the United Nations on Wednesday over a U.S.-drafted Security Council statement to condemn North Korea's latest failed ballistic missile test.

    Diplomats said China had agreed to the statement.

    Such statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by consensus.

    Previous statements denouncing missile launches "welcomed efforts by council members, as well as other states, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue". The latest draft statement dropped "through dialogue" and Russia requested it be included again.

    "When we requested to restore the agreed language that was of political importance and expressed commitment to continue to work on the draft ... the U.S. delegation without providing any explanations cancelled the work on the draft," the Russian U.N. mission said in a statement.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believed in the Security Council maintaining unity.

    "Speaking with one voice is extremely important to the Security Council appropriately responding to the relevant issue on the peninsula," he told reporters.

    There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a U.S. aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week he had sent an "armada" as a warning to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.

    The U.S. military's Pacific Command explained that the USS Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-planned period of training with Australia. It was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered, it said.

    China's influential Global Times newspaper, which is published by the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper, wondered whether the misdirection was deliberate.

    "The truth seems to be that the U.S. military and president jointly created fake news and it is without doubt a rare scandal in U.S. history, which will be bound to cripple Trump's and U.S. dignity," it said.

    Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington, William James in London, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Idrees Ali in Riyadh, Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Kim Do-gyun in Gunsan, South Korea
     
  8. Butter Chicken

    Butter Chicken Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    What is the maximum damage NoKo can do?They can probably obliterate Seoul with their artillery and Tokyo with their missiles
     
  9. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major Technical Analyst

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    Lol , if China doesn't interfere then South Korea would establish total air superiority over north Korean skies, total naval blockage, and total destruction of their missile launch and ammunition storage sites in no more than 6 hours.
     
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  10. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major Technical Analyst

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    They can't even create a scar at Seoul
     
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  11. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Is the United States Really Blowing Up North Korea’s Missiles?
    [​IMG]
    Jeffrey Lewis

    Foreign Policy MagazineApril 19, 2017
    [​IMG]
    There’s just no evidence to support the fantasy that Kim Jong Un’s rockets are falling prey to a super-secret U.S. cyberprogram.
    The Trump administration has completed a policy review of how to manage the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. The new policy — massive pressure and engagement — is a tepid serving of leftovers from the Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations. I actually created a quiz of similar statements from all four administrations — and then when I looked at it a day later, I failed it.

    As so often happens when reality disappoints, people turn to rumor and fantasy. And so, disappointed with the reality that Donald Trump faces the same lousy options on North Korea that hamstrung all his predecessors, the new Washington bedtime story is that the United States is secretly hacking North Korean missile launches.

    The root of this particular bedtime story was a bit of reporting by David Sanger and William Broad, asserting that the Obama administration had begun, about three years ago, to launch cyberattacks against North Korea analogous to those against Iran.

    While the United States is undoubtedly interested in penetrating Iranian and North Korean computer networks, and is doing a bit of mischief, that’s a long way from the reality of some keyboard jockey in Utah taking command of a North Korean missile and piloting it into the drink.

    First, some inconvenient facts. North Korea’s missiles aren’t really failing at a terrible rate. Sanger and Broad argued that soon after Obama’s decision in 2014, a “large number of the North’s military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea.”

    Correlation is not causation, of course, and a simple review of North Korea’s missile launches suggests that if the United States is hacking North Korean missiles, it is doing a crap job of it.

    Since 2014, about three-quarters of Pyongyang’s launches have succeeded. My colleague Shea Cotton keeps a database of every North Korean missile launch. Of the 66 missiles that North Korea launched during 2014 and after, 51 have succeeded. If hacking is playing any role, it is defeating a trivial number of missiles. A .230 average isn’t enough to keep you in the major leagues. And it’s a lousy batting average against nuclear-armed missiles.

    new systems — missiles then under development where one would expect to see failures, hacking or no hacking. There was a spike in failures after 2016, but that spike was concentrated in four new systems that had never before been tested: the Musudan (five failures); a submarine-launched ballistic missile (three failures); an unidentified intercontinental ballistic missile (two failures); and a new anti-ship missile (two failures). Overall, North Korea’s Scud and Nodong missiles — the ones that it plans to use to nuke U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan — worked just ducky.">Moreover, we can see those 15 failures were concentrated in a few new systems — missiles then under development where one would expect to see failures, hacking or no hacking. There was a spike in failures after 2016, but that spike was concentrated in four new systems that had never before been tested: the Musudan (five failures); a submarine-launched ballistic missile (three failures); an unidentified intercontinental ballistic missile (two failures); and a new anti-ship missile (two failures). Overall, North Korea’s Scud and Nodong missiles — the ones that it plans to use to nuke U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan — worked just ducky.

    The fact is, new systems are expected to fail at a higher rate. There is, after all, a reason that “rocket science” is popular as a metaphor for tasks that are complicated and difficult. While the simple media narrative is to laugh at failed missile launches, the North Koreans learn from every flight, whether it works or not.

    Hidden Figures[/a] ladies. Or maybe, just maybe, rocket science is f’ing hard.'>Experiencing and overcoming failure is a normal part of building a robust and reliable rocket program. Let me introduce you to Redstone, a missile literally nicknamed “Old Reliable.” It was America’s first large rocket, good enough to put Alan Shepard into space. Nine of the first 10 Redstone launches failed. It’s possible, I suppose, that Wernher von Braun was an idiot. Or that Soviet spies had turned those lovely Hidden Figures ladies. Or maybe, just maybe, rocket science is f’ing hard.

    So while we laughed every time a North Korean missile exploded at launch (2006) or dropped into the drink (April 2009 and April 2012), Pyongyang’s finest were busy studying what went wrong and fixing the problems. It seemed like North Korea would never figure it out … until it did. The last two North Korean space launches, in December 2012 and again in February 2016, were successful. Look up and you can still see North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite in orbit.

    North Korea’s missile launches aren’t failing because we are hacking them; they are failing because Pyongyang is developing a wide array of new liquid- and solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Many of those systems — especially the new solid-fueled missiles — are working just fine. And North Korean engineers will either figure the others out or learn from their mistakes and move on to more promising designs.'>North Korea’s missile launches aren’t failing because we are hacking them; they are failing because Pyongyang is developing a wide array of new liquid- and solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Many of those systems — especially the new solid-fueled missiles — are working just fine. And North Korean engineers will either figure the others out or learn from their mistakes and move on to more promising designs.


    Another troubling question is lurking in Sanger and Broad’s assessment: If the United States were successfully hacking North Korea’s missiles, wouldn’t it also be hacking Iran’s? The two countries cooperate closely in missile development, so much so that it probably isn’t possible to hack one without hacking the other. And, of course, it was Iran’s nuclear program that was subject to the original high-profile cyberattack — the Stuxnet virus that crippled Iranian centrifuges.

    Iranian missiles aren’t, however, falling out of the sky. And even Stuxnet was never more than an annoyance to the Iranians. Yes, it damaged a large number of centrifuges and slowed the Iranian enrichment program for a few months. But, ultimately, Iran was installing thousands of centrifuges and developing new generations of the devices before the program was constrained by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

    I don’t mean to say that the United States isn’t attempting to get inside North Korea’s networks. I suspect that the United States is probably very interested in attacking the systems that control North Korea’s new generation of computer-controlled machine tools, which my colleagues and I believe have reduced Pyongyang’s dependence on imported components for its nuclear and missile programs. But there just isn’t any reason to think cyberattacks are more than a nuisance.

    The evidence suggests that the United States isn’t succeeding in this regard and that, at best, such efforts would be a nuisance to the North Koreans. In fact, in the wake of Stuxnet, there were reports that a similar program against North Korea had failed. Given the extensive missile cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang, I would expect that they share cybersecurity tips.

    So why is the idea that the United States is hacking missiles out of the sky so prevalent? It is hard to admit that political and coercive policies are not working. And it’s especially hard to admit that we are approaching a point where we are going to have to accept something we have long said is unacceptable. Denial, as Sen. Al Franken used to say, ain’t just a river in Egypt.

    This particular crisis has been a long time in the making. But for whatever reason, it is breaking into the popular consciousness now. People feel powerless, and they expect their government to do something. They just aren’t prepared to accept that this particular something is, well, nothing. So there must be some secret government agency, one that doesn’t look like the post office, where people know what they are doing.

    Add to that a healthy dose of partisanship. We live in a bizarre era where every issue becomes a referendum on Donald Trump. While (slightly more than) half of us are convinced he’s going to get us all killed, his fans desperately want to believe that he’s not just some grifter in hopelessly over his head. And so when he says North Korea isn’t going to test a missile in one of his Twitter outbursts, and then a missile test fails, the Drudge Report and his troll army on Twitter attribute the stroke of luck to Cheeto Jesus. Psychologists call this the fundamental attribution error. You see this a lot in cults.

    It’s all a dangerous fantasy, though. The Trump administration plainly has no idea what it is doing, opting for a “new” strategy identical to the approach adopted by the Obama and Bush administrations. The unifying feature of this approach has been desperate paralysis — sorry, patiently hoping for a strategic miracle.

    Hacking allows us to entertain this fantasy a bit longer. It allows us to imagine that missile failures are not growing pains of an evolving and dangerous threat but evidence of our power, wisdom, and superior technology. The idea that hacking can prevent North Korea’s missiles from working allows us to avoid coming to terms with the reality that our policies are failing.

    Photo credit: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)/AFP/Getty Images'>Photo credit: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)/AFP/Getty Images
     
  12. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    No one can stop North Korea from doing something stupid, but we can sure as hell make them sorry they did it..
     
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  13. Butter Chicken

    Butter Chicken Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    15,000 artillery and cannons can obliterate Seoul,which has half the population of South Korea
     
  14. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Is the United States Really Blowing Up North Korea’s Missiles?
    [​IMG]
    Jeffrey Lewis

    Foreign Policy MagazineApril 19, 2017
    [​IMG]<img alt="Is the United States Really Blowing Up North Korea’s Missiles?" class="StretchedBox W(100%) H(100%) ie-7_H(a)" src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/s...icy_magazine/db4649f2093f77157ffc67002d1a4481" itemprop="url"/>
    There’s just no evidence to support the fantasy that Kim Jong Un’s rockets are falling prey to a super-secret U.S. cyberprogram.
    The Trump administration has completed a policy review of how to manage the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. The new policy — massive pressure and engagement — is a tepid serving of leftovers from the Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations. I actually created a quiz of similar statements from all four administrations — and then when I looked at it a day later, I failed it.

    As so often happens when reality disappoints, people turn to rumor and fantasy. And so, disappointed with the reality that Donald Trump faces the same lousy options on North Korea that hamstrung all his predecessors, the new Washington bedtime story is that the United States is secretly hacking North Korean missile launches.

    The root of this particular bedtime story was a bit of reporting by David Sanger and William Broad, asserting that the Obama administration had begun, about three years ago, to launch cyberattacks against North Korea analogous to those against Iran.

    While the United States is undoubtedly interested in penetrating Iranian and North Korean computer networks, and is doing a bit of mischief, that’s a long way from the reality of some keyboard jockey in Utah taking command of a North Korean missile and piloting it into the drink.

    First, some inconvenient facts. North Korea’s missiles aren’t really failing at a terrible rate. Sanger and Broad argued that soon after Obama’s decision in 2014, a “large number of the North’s military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea.”

    Correlation is not causation, of course, and a simple review of North Korea’s missile launches suggests that if the United States is hacking North Korean missiles, it is doing a crap job of it.

    Since 2014, about three-quarters of Pyongyang’s launches have succeeded. My colleague Shea Cotton keeps a database of every North Korean missile launch. Of the 66 missiles that North Korea launched during 2014 and after, 51 have succeeded. If hacking is playing any role, it is defeating a trivial number of missiles. A .230 average isn’t enough to keep you in the major leagues. And it’s a lousy batting average against nuclear-armed missiles.

    new systems — missiles then under development where one would expect to see failures, hacking or no hacking. There was a spike in failures after 2016, but that spike was concentrated in four new systems that had never before been tested: the Musudan (five failures); a submarine-launched ballistic missile (three failures); an unidentified intercontinental ballistic missile (two failures); and a new anti-ship missile (two failures). Overall, North Korea’s Scud and Nodong missiles — the ones that it plans to use to nuke U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan — worked just ducky.">Moreover, we can see those 15 failures were concentrated in a few new systems — missiles then under development where one would expect to see failures, hacking or no hacking. There was a spike in failures after 2016, but that spike was concentrated in four new systems that had never before been tested: the Musudan (five failures); a submarine-launched ballistic missile (three failures); an unidentified intercontinental ballistic missile (two failures); and a new anti-ship missile (two failures). Overall, North Korea’s Scud and Nodong missiles — the ones that it plans to use to nuke U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan — worked just ducky.

    The fact is, new systems are expected to fail at a higher rate. There is, after all, a reason that “rocket science” is popular as a metaphor for tasks that are complicated and difficult. While the simple media narrative is to laugh at failed missile launches, the North Koreans learn from every flight, whether it works or not.

    Hidden Figures[/a] ladies. Or maybe, just maybe, rocket science is f’ing hard.'>Experiencing and overcoming failure is a normal part of building a robust and reliable rocket program. Let me introduce you to Redstone, a missile literally nicknamed “Old Reliable.” It was America’s first large rocket, good enough to put Alan Shepard into space. Nine of the first 10 Redstone launches failed. It’s possible, I suppose, that Wernher von Braun was an idiot. Or that Soviet spies had turned those lovely Hidden Figures ladies. Or maybe, just maybe, rocket science is f’ing hard.

    So while we laughed every time a North Korean missile exploded at launch (2006) or dropped into the drink (April 2009 and April 2012), Pyongyang’s finest were busy studying what went wrong and fixing the problems. It seemed like North Korea would never figure it out … until it did. The last two North Korean space launches, in December 2012 and again in February 2016, were successful. Look up and you can still see North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite in orbit.

    North Korea’s missile launches aren’t failing because we are hacking them; they are failing because Pyongyang is developing a wide array of new liquid- and solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Many of those systems — especially the new solid-fueled missiles — are working just fine. And North Korean engineers will either figure the others out or learn from their mistakes and move on to more promising designs.'>North Korea’s missile launches aren’t failing because we are hacking them; they are failing because Pyongyang is developing a wide array of new liquid- and solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Many of those systems — especially the new solid-fueled missiles — are working just fine. And North Korean engineers will either figure the others out or learn from their mistakes and move on to more promising designs.


    Another troubling question is lurking in Sanger and Broad’s assessment: If the United States were successfully hacking North Korea’s missiles, wouldn’t it also be hacking Iran’s? The two countries cooperate closely in missile development, so much so that it probably isn’t possible to hack one without hacking the other. And, of course, it was Iran’s nuclear program that was subject to the original high-profile cyberattack — the Stuxnet virus that crippled Iranian centrifuges.

    Iranian missiles aren’t, however, falling out of the sky. And even Stuxnet was never more than an annoyance to the Iranians. Yes, it damaged a large number of centrifuges and slowed the Iranian enrichment program for a few months. But, ultimately, Iran was installing thousands of centrifuges and developing new generations of the devices before the program was constrained by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

    I don’t mean to say that the United States isn’t attempting to get inside North Korea’s networks. I suspect that the United States is probably very interested in attacking the systems that control North Korea’s new generation of computer-controlled machine tools, which my colleagues and I believe have reduced Pyongyang’s dependence on imported components for its nuclear and missile programs. But there just isn’t any reason to think cyberattacks are more than a nuisance.

    The evidence suggests that the United States isn’t succeeding in this regard and that, at best, such efforts would be a nuisance to the North Koreans. In fact, in the wake of Stuxnet, there were reports that a similar program against North Korea had failed. Given the extensive missile cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang, I would expect that they share cybersecurity tips.

    So why is the idea that the United States is hacking missiles out of the sky so prevalent? It is hard to admit that political and coercive policies are not working. And it’s especially hard to admit that we are approaching a point where we are going to have to accept something we have long said is unacceptable. Denial, as Sen. Al Franken used to say, ain’t just a river in Egypt.

    This particular crisis has been a long time in the making. But for whatever reason, it is breaking into the popular consciousness now. People feel powerless, and they expect their government to do something. They just aren’t prepared to accept that this particular something is, well, nothing. So there must be some secret government agency, one that doesn’t look like the post office, where people know what they are doing.

    Add to that a healthy dose of partisanship. We live in a bizarre era where every issue becomes a referendum on Donald Trump. While (slightly more than) half of us are convinced he’s going to get us all killed, his fans desperately want to believe that he’s not just some grifter in hopelessly over his head. And so when he says North Korea isn’t going to test a missile in one of his Twitter outbursts, and then a missile test fails, the Drudge Report and his troll army on Twitter attribute the stroke of luck to Cheeto Jesus. Psychologists call this the fundamental attribution error. You see this a lot in cults.

    It’s all a dangerous fantasy, though. The Trump administration plainly has no idea what it is doing, opting for a “new” strategy identical to the approach adopted by the Obama and Bush administrations. The unifying feature of this approach has been desperate paralysis — sorry, patiently hoping for a strategic miracle.

    Hacking allows us to entertain this fantasy a bit longer. It allows us to imagine that missile failures are not growing pains of an evolving and dangerous threat but evidence of our power, wisdom, and superior technology. The idea that hacking can prevent North Korea’s missiles from working allows us to avoid coming to terms with the reality that our policies are failing.

    Photo credit: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)/AFP/Getty Images'>Photo credit: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)/AFP/Getty Images
     
  15. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major Technical Analyst

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    Give a try to look up at what actually is the capability of those "15,000" artillery pieces.

    They cannot even cross deep into South Korea.
     

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