North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to feel “extremely nervous” about the allies’ possible clandestine operation to eliminate him, South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers Thursday.
Due to concerns over potential airstrikes and assassination attempts, the young tyrant prefers to move at dawn and uses his subordinates’ cars, such as a Lexus car, not his own Mercedes-Benz 600, the National Intelligence Services told a closed-door parliamentary session, according to Rep. Lee Cheol-woo of the main opposition Liberty Party of Korea, who attended the meeting.
South Korea and the US are seeking to establish a special forces team to take out Pyongyang’s leadership in the event of a contingency. Scheduled to be created by the end of this year, the unit will be tasked with eliminating Kim and paralyzing the North’s command and control system.
“Kim is so engrossed with collecting information about the ‘decapitation operation’ through his intelligence agency,” said Lee, referring to the title of the clandenstie operation targeting Kim.
Despite economic hardship in the country, North Korea appears to have inched closer to securing key technology to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles through a series of successful missile tests, the NIS also said.
Regarding the controversy over a suspected North Korean drone found last week in South Korea, the spy agency said the drone took a total of 551 pictures of the South’s territory, including a Terminal Altitude Area Defense battery located in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
The NIS also revealed that a total of six South Korean nationals are currently detained in North Korea, with most of them arrested for engaging in religious activities or helping North Korean defectors. If Korean-Americans are included, the number of detainees is 10, the NIS told the parliament.
The North Korean leader has reduced his propaganda public activities “by a significant amount,” which the NIS said suggests that the young leader has begun to feel confident about his grip on the communist state.
“The number of Kim Jong-un’s public activities was 51, a 32 percent decrease from last year,” an NIS official was quoted as saying by Rep. Lee.
“Since 2013, we have seen a downward trajectory of Kim’s public activities. We believe that Kim feels very confident (about his leadership). The number shows he has succeeded in grasping power and secured his status in the regime,” he said.
The regime has seen a “significant surge” in oil prices, as the United Nations has continued to enforce its economic sanctions and China has reduced its supply of crude and refined oil.
“North Korea supplies most of its oil to special places. Therefore, the household oil price has increased a lot. The oil price had been set at around 6,000 won ($5.30) per kilogram. The price increased to 20,000 won in May and it stands at around 15,000 won currently,” the NIS said.
WHY U.S IS NOT USING MILITARY OPTION AGAINST NORTH KOREA?
The U.S. has been considering a range of options, from expanded economic sanctions to military operations, as it reaches out to allies in confronting North Korea’s latest provocations. North Korea has been conducting missiles tests in open defiance of U.S and international community. U.S has deployed massive firepower around North Korea, with more than one Carrier Strike Group stationed in Korean waters, but has till now refrained from taking any military action.
In this video (below), Defense Updates analyzes the scenarios, and reasons that is preventing Trump administration from using force.
So, lets get started.
While North Korea’s massive forces are largely primitively equipped, Pyongyang possesses the capacity to launch a devastating artillery strike on the city of Seoul.
The opponents’ capitals are just 120 miles apart, with Seoul within 35 miles of the border. Most of the North’s artillery pieces—numbering in the thousands—are already in place camouflaged and dug in. North Korea’s artillery pieces include the 170 mm Koksan, which has a range of about 25 miles (40 km), using conventional projectiles. However, the Seoul is well within range of the Korean People’s Army rocket-assisted shells—which have a range of around 40 miles (60 km), if the guns are stationed near the border region. Being self-propelled, 170 mm Koksan can be easily moved close to the international border.
Even with massive preemptive strike, U.S and South Korean forces wont be able to neutralize them fully, a decent percentage of these will still remain working. Covering only about 12% of the country’s area, the Seoul Capital Area is home to more than 48.2% of the national population, and is the world’s third largest urban area.
North Korea has more than 1.2 million active soldiers, and a further 7.7 million in reserve, making its ground force one of the largest in the world. Its troops are bolstered by 200,000 highly trained special ops soldiers.
These 200000-odd special operations forces are tasked to carry out attacks on major South Korean and American facilities in South Korea, as well as assassinations of government officials. The commandos would infiltrate the South by using underground tunnels, mini-subs and Russian Antonov An-2 biplanes during a war.
It must me noted that North Korean army is decently equipped. The force consists of about 4,200 tanks and 2,200 armored vehicles.
South Korea has much smaller army of around 500,000 personnel and could be overwhelmed. Again in this case, Seoul will be in the direct line of fire and huge fatality is expected.
MISSILE & NUKES:
The first nuke test was conducted by North Korea on Oct. 8, 2006. As per the United States analysts, it had a yield of less than 1 kiloton of TNT. Blasts have become more powerful since then. The device tested by the North, in January 2016, had a force equivalent of 7 kilotons of TNT. By contrast, the device detonated on Sept 2016 looks to have had a force equivalent of 25 kilotons of TNT, according to the most analysis. So it can be inferred that North Korea currently has a decent nuclear arsenal in its hand, and looking at increasing yield of its bombs, it can be said that it will have immense destructive power at its disposal in coming days.
North has a fairly significant ballistic missile capability. Some estimates show that North Korea has over 600 short-range Scud missiles, more than 200 Nodong missiles, and about 50 Musudan and Taepodong missiles. Apart of from that, North is testing new intermediate range ballistic missiles. These weapons could be used to deliver nukes to targets around the Korean peninsula and beyond. As evident, it is making progress in enhancing missile range, and optimizing its atomic weapons.
Recently US has made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), operational in South Korea. THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile system, which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase.
US also has stationed Arleigh Burke class destroyers in Korean waters. The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is the United States Navy’s first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System is a United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency program developed to provide missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Aegis BMD is designed to intercept ballistic missiles post-boost phase and prior to reentry.
It enables Arleigh Burke class to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles by expanding the Aegis Combat System with the addition of the AN/SPY-1 radar and Standard missile technologies.
But both THAAD & Aegis BMD, have their share of hits and misses in test environment, it can be safely assumed that not all incoming missile will be intercepted.
American Prisoner Suffered Extensive Brain Damage In North Korea
Otto Warmer made it back to the US but he may never be the same. Ana Kasparian, Ben Mankiewicz, and Aida Rodriguez, the hosts of The Young Turks, tell you what happened to him.
Rodman and North Korea: Exploring a ‘special relationship’
Why is Dennis Rodman so popular in North Korea? A look at his current trip and an overview of his previous visits