Guam is the next target for the North Korean leadership

On August 8th 2017, The Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Staff issued a statement responding to recent UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea’s recent missile tests and the recent public commentary of senior US policymakers.

On August 9th 2017, North Korea freed Hyeon Soo-lim, a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence on humanitarian grounds, the Canadian prime minister and North Korea’s KCNA news agency said, just hours after the United States warned it would counter any threat from the North with « fire and fury. »

On August 10th, North Korea announced that its army is currently working on a plan to fire four missiles into the sea of Guam, which will be ready to present to leader Kim Jong Un by mid-August, state media KCNA reported Thursday. The plan, if implemented, would see four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles fired into waters 30 to 40 kilometers (18 to 25 miles) off the coast of the US territory in response to escalating rhetoric from President Donald Trump. Kim Rak-gyom (김락겸), the head of North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces, is responsible for this announcement.

Potential scenario:

  • Firing four missiles into the sea of Guam can complicate the situation over the Korean Peninsula. In spite of the behavior of Donald Trump, a potential conflict between the US and North Korea is barely possible. The US never fought against a nuclear state.
  • New UN security sanctions can target companies cooperating with North Korea, including chinese entities. Secondary sanctions may also affect chinese individuals involved in the trade between North Korea and China (for example people such as Sam Pa (徐京华), head of the 88 Queensway Group). New sanctions may affect donjus (new North Korean elites) and led to an internal revolt under the auspices of these new rich North Korean people.
  • I consider plausible, that the US may ask to close (at least on a temporary basis) North Korean embassies based on the territory of friendly states. The Closing of the North Korean’s embassy in Poland in not taken in consideration  as Warsaw want to maintain its presence in Pyongyang in spite of no real exchanges between both countries.

Additional remarks:

  • DPRK aggressions is probably due to undisclosed actions led jointly by the US and China against the North Korean leadership. These actions are not mentioned in the press and therefore we have a wrong interpretation of the North Korean attitude.
  • South Korean authorities don’t want to complicate the situation over the Korean Peninsula and don’t want to launch a social South Korean panic. Therefore the South Korean leadership consider the situation as complicated and not as « dangerous ».
  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are leaders whose behavior cannot be clearly defined or understood.
  • Is Putin willing to send emissary to North Korea for mediation between the US and North Korea? Putin already sent emissary regarding issues between South and North Korea.
  • As in the Soviet Union, the North Korean leadership consist of individuals who are relatively idiots. Therefore, their real process of decision can be hardly understood. In the case of the Soviet Union, according to the prominent Russian public figure Roy Medvedev, Kaganovitch, Malenkov, Molotov, Stalin were all considered as people with low IQ. Their inabilities led to the death of millions of people (during Stalin’s purges) and to the bankrupcy of the Soviet economy. I see no real differences between the North Korean and the Soviet leadership.
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Nicolas Levi

Analyst on North Korean issues

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