North Korean Nuclear Missiles Can Hit USA!

OK, hold on, it’s only Guam (a US Pacific territory) that they can hit – so far. I know: that post-title was probably pretty cheap of me, and does no justice to the serious situation that is reported today by Germany’s Die Zeit. Because if they can hit Guam, they can also hit Alaska (I know, still no great loss, but bear with me here . . .) as well as Northern Australia and parts of India and Russia. (They’ve always been able to hit the People’s Republic of China and South Korea, but those are just a given, as respectively North Korea’s biggest ally and – ironically, bizarrely – its biggest enemy.) And I repeat that we are talking about nuclear warheads here.

So you can see how the recent stop in Seoul by new American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes on a new after-the-fact significance after this discovery of what the North Korean are up to (which you have to presume that Clinton and other top officials were aware of at the time). For whatever reason, the degree of North Korean invective against South Korea has heated up tremendously in recent weeks, so much so that South Korean politicians are quoted in the Zeit article as speaking of a “war of words.” In reaction to which Clinton announced during her visit there: “North Korea will gain no other relations with the USA as long as it insults and refuses dialog with South Korea.” US and allied officials are concerned not only about the extended range of these new “Taeppodong-2” missiles but also about the prospect that they could find their way to other bad actors like Iran or Syria; the North Koreans have been known in the past as willing sharers of their deadly technology, if the price is right.

News reports also noted how Clinton broke a “taboo” while visiting South Korea by openly speculating during an interview there over what’s happening with the North Korean leadership. For indeed, there seems to be something strange happening there, as the Zeit article describes. Some think dictator Kim Jong-Il might already be dead – for one thing, he didn’t bother to show up to the gala nation-wide celebration last week of his 67th birthday. In any event, his son and designated heir – named “Kim Jong-Un,” it seems – is preparing for his “coming out party” on March 8, which in North Korean dictator terms means taking up a position with the Supreme People’s Congress in preparation for the higher positions he is being groomed to take up later.

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