clear
Saturday October 21st, 2017 1:06AM

Experts: US-N.Korea nuclear war unlikely, but risk is rising

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A nuclear war between North Korea and the United States is not imminent, analysts said, but the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides is increasing the risk. They called on all parties to de-escalate.

North Korea's army said in a statement distributed by state media Wednesday that it was examining a plan to use ballistic missiles to make an "enveloping fire" around Guam, a U.S. territory that is home to Andersen Air Force Base. The statement came a day after President Donald Trump warned North Korea against making more threats, saying, "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

What experts in South Korea, China and the U.S. had to say:

___

SLIM CHANCE OF ATTACK

A North Korean attack or an American pre-emptive strike is unlikely, said John Delury, an associate professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.

He saw North Korea's statement as a warning to Washington that its missiles could reach targets in the region, rather than one of an actual attack.

"Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say if North Korea was planning some kind of pre-emptive or surprise attack on Guam, we would not be reading about it in North Korean media," Delury said in an interview at his office. "Now that said, you do need to track their threats. And there are cases where they (have) made a specific threat and carried it out."

A U.S. strike against North Korea would need the support of South Korea, he said, because the North would likely retaliate against the South and its 600,000 troops.

"It's not something you can do without robust, full support from the South Korean government people, and there's absolutely no sign that South Korea will support military options with North Korea," Delury said.

— Yong Jun Chang in Seoul, South Korea

___

DEEP CONCERN IN BEIJING

Chinese government-backed scholars said Beijing is deeply concerned about the latest statements from Trump and North Korea. They hold the U.S. partly responsible, saying Trump's heated rhetoric is fueling the flames.

Trump's tough talk has contributed to an increase in animosity that is pushing the sides closer to armed conflict, said Cheng Xiaohe of the School of International Studies at Beijing's Renmin University.

"If not kept well under control, this verbal spat could turn into a military clash," he said, adding that China should dispatch diplomats to engage in shuttle diplomacy to bring the sides to the negotiating table.

China's patience with North Korea, its onetime close ally, appears to be running thin: Beijing agreed to recent U.N. sanctions, despite potential losses to Chinese firms doing business with North Korea and fears over destabilizing the Pyongyang regime.

A top Chinese expert on North Korea said Pyongyang seemed to have been heartened by Washington's failure to take firm measures in response to earlier actions.

"Trump said the U.S. would take tough measures if North Korea fired off missiles, but it did not," said Zhang Liangui, a professor at the ruling Communist Party's main training academy. "This might make North Korea think that's just some verbal threat, so its attitude is getting tougher and tougher."

The U.S., China and Russia need to come together to force the North to de-escalate, he said. "The big countries should not attack each other, but unite to better cooperate on maintaining the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

— Christopher Bodeen and Fu Ting in Beijing

___

NO CAPABILITY YET

U.S. nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker, who has repeatedly visited North Korea's nuclear facilities, said he doesn't think North Korea currently has weapons systems for "enveloping fire" around Guam, as it threatened.

"I don't believe they have the capability to do so yet, and besides, why would they want to commit suicide by attacking a remote target like Guam?" he said. "The real threat is stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula by misunderstanding or miscalculation. Inflammatory rhetoric on both sides will make that more likely. It's time to tone down the rhetoric."

Hecker said North Korea does not have a sophisticated nuclear weapon like those of the U.S., Russia, Britain, China or France, the major nuclear superpowers.

"The shorter-range missile that can reach South Korea and Japan can accommodate larger nuclear warhead payloads," he said. "Making the warhead sufficiently small, light and robust to survive an ICBM delivery is extremely challenging and still beyond North Korea's reach."

The way to avert a war with North Korea is to have a conversation, and that's not happening, Hecker said.

"Unfortunately, there seems to be no serious dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, only threats," he said.

— Martha Mendoza in San Jose, California

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Experts: US-N.Korea nuclear war unlikely, but risk is rising
A nuclear war between North Korea and the United States is not imminent, analysts say, but the inflammatory rhetoric on both sides is increasing the risk
4:49AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Rescuers find bodies after China quake kills 19, injures 247
Rescuers have gathered bodies amid rubble in an area shaken by a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwestern China that killed 19 people and injured 247
4:44AM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kenyan opposition leader Odinga alleges fraud
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says hackers infiltrated the database of the country's election commission and manipulated the results in what he called an "attack on our democracy."
4:34AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP Explains: N. Korea missiles that can potentially hit Guam
North Korea has taken its military threats to a new level by saying it is examining operational plans for attacking Guam to contain U.S. military bases
3:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
Guam residents fear attack after North Korea statements
Residents of the U.S. territory Guam are afraid after being caught in the middle of the rising tension between President Donald Trump and North Korea
3:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
A-bomb anniversary in Nagasaki amid US-North Korea tension
Japan is marking the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki amid growing tension between the U.S. and North Korea
3:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Rescuers find bodies after China quake kills 19, injures 247
Rescuers have gathered bodies amid rubble in an area shaken by a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwestern China that killed 19 people and injured 247
4:44AM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kenyan opposition leader Odinga alleges fraud
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says hackers infiltrated the database of the country's election commission and manipulated the results in what he called an "attack on our democracy."
4:34AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Glen Campbell said goodbye to his life, career through music
Glen Campbell said goodbye to his life and career in every way he could before Alzheimer's claimed his mind
4:29AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Taylor Swift wants case to serve as example to other victims
Taylor Swift's attorneys say they aren't trying to bankrupt a former Colorado DJ accused of groping the popstar, but they do want others to know 'that you can always say no'
4:26AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Kenyan opposition leader Odinga alleges fraud
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says hackers infiltrated the database of the country's election commission and manipulated the results in what he called an "attack on our democracy."
4:21AM ( 32 minutes ago )