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Sep 06

Ugglan i sverige

It is, of course, easy to dismiss North Korean rhetoric, because most of the time it seems so detached from the rest of the world’s version of reality. But as any longtime Pyongyang watcher will tell you, underneath the verbal pyrotechnics there is an undeniable logic to the North’s pronouncements.In this case, Kim is under probably the greatest international pressure he has experienced since taking over from his father in December 2011. Last month’s nuclear test appears to have been a step too far for China, Ugglan i sverige which is reportedly actually enforcing the U.N. Security Council sanctions that it joined in passing earlier this month. Meanwhile, the United States and South Korea have recently concluded a series of major military exercises, and earlier this week agreed to a contingency plan to deal with any North Korean “provocations.” This agreement is vital for the United States, which had seen South Korean patience with its northern neighbor shrivel following the sinking of the South Korean corvetteCheonan in March 2010 and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November of the same year. The last thing the U.S. wants is an overreaction by South Korea that could lead to a full-blown international crisis.

Kim is also responding to the announcement by new U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the continental U.S. is going to get more ballistic missile defense interceptors based in Alaska, specifically to neutralize any potential North Korean threat.So Kim’s under international pressure. And he’s also probably under considerable internal pressure to maintain the Songun, or “military first” policy espoused by his father that ties the regime’s success to the armed forces. Ugglan i sverige Certainly, speculation that Kim’s accession would see a rebalancing of the North Korean political system away from the military and toward the Korean People’s Party has been rebutted by the predominantly military postures he has adopted in recent months.

But this is just some background to this week’s threats, and begs the question of whether North Korea’s bark is worse that its bite. The answer is probably yes.North Korea doesn’t appear to have the capability to carry out its latest threat to attack U.S. bases in Hawaii, Guam or the U.S. mainland. From what we know of its existing inventory, it does have Scud derived missiles that could complicate the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and they could likely reach Japan. But anything further is probably an empty threat.For all the hoopla surrounding the Unha-3 rocket that was used to launch a satellite in December 2012, the fact remains that it was ballistic missile technology, not a ballistic missile. Ugglan i sverige That leaves the KN-08, which was unveiled at last April’s military parade in Pyongyang. Hagel’s announcement that the U.S. was ramping up its ballistic missile defenses on the west coast/Alaska was interesting because Pentagon officials used the KN-08 as a rationale for the move, but then refused to divulge the intelligence they have on it.