Thursday, March 28, 2013

People in Hawaii taking North Korea threat seriously (maybe)

I've had two people today tell me that they are worried that North Korea will rain fire down on Honolulu. One was a middle school student who said it with great certainty — "North Korea is going to attack Hawaii" — common among twelve- and thirteen-year-olds who see something on the news or hear it from their parents. The other was an educated late twenty-something who was hoping for reassurance that it wouldn't/couldn't happen.

I was the person for her to be talking to. Since my teens, I told her, I've lived most of my life in the hairpins of Kim Ilsung, Kim Jong-il, or Kim Jong-un. Rest assured, North Korea knows that if it really goes ahead and attacks a population center (Seoul, Inchon, Honolulu, or even Saipan or Hagåtña (Agaña) on Guam, that would be the beginning of their speedy end.

In Seoul, we've been threatened by this image (from CSM) for years. 

Yes, I'll admit that I was surprised when North Korea bombarded Yŏnpyŏng-do Island in November 2010, but that was an isolated bit of territory that saw four dead, nowhere near the casualty numbers that would occur in a major city or even a northern Kyŏnggi-do Province suburb, thus compelling South Korea to respond with brutal force. If any part of Hawaii ever is attacked by North Korea, it will be some distant islet in the archipelago, far from any people. The worst that would happen is that the Norks would violate Federal laws prohibiting the abuse of sea turtles and monk seals.

For the record, here is one of the news stories on the North Korean threat to the Aloha State and Where America's Day Begins, this one courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor:
North Korea announced today in a blizzard of threats that it is ready to target US military bases in Guam and Hawaii as part of a full-alert military posture. The threats included other targets in the United States, and in South Korea, in what has been a steady escalation of rhetoric.

The Korean People’s Army Supreme Command, which rarely itself issues such statements since it is a wartime body, stated the alert was due to the American nuclear “war racket” that has “gone beyond the danger line, and entered the phase of an actual war, defying the repeated warnings from the army and people of [North Korea.]”

The statement warned “puppet authorities” in Seoul to “be mindful that everything will be reduced to ashes and flames,” reported Yonhap news agency.

North Korea has vowed in the past to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire." And the latest threats from Pyongyang – which has made technical progress with its missile range, though has not yet proved it can "weaponize" or nuclear-tip those rockets – apparently do not target the Japanese mainland.
As the article mentions, this is by no means new, not even for Hawaii, as I've reported in the past (see here and here). The big difference is the rhetoric, not the technology, which itself is of questionable reliability.

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