North Korea threatens nuclear response

The naval exercises are set to begin on Sunday.

North Korea said it would counter U.S. and South Korean joint naval exercises with “nuclear deterrence” after the Obama administration said the government in Pyongyang shouldn’t take any provocative steps.

North Korea will “legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises to be staged by the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces,” the National Defense Commission said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The maneuvers, which involve 20 vessels and 200 aircraft from the U.S. and South Korea, pose a threat to the country’s sovereignty and security, Ri Tong Il, an official with North Korea’s delegation to the Asean Security Forum, told reporters in Hanoi yesterday.

via North Korea Warns of Nuclear Response to Naval Exercises – Bloomberg.

Should we cave, just to make sure, or call their bluff, risking South Korea?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Winston Smith

    Call their bluff. Nothing’s going to happen.

  • Winston Smith

    Call their bluff. Nothing’s going to happen.

  • http://bethanylc.org Rev. C. D. Trouten

    What Winston said.

  • http://bethanylc.org Rev. C. D. Trouten

    What Winston said.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I can not believe China would approve a nuclear response, since any such response would endanger the lives of literally millions of people in the entire region.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I can not believe China would approve a nuclear response, since any such response would endanger the lives of literally millions of people in the entire region.

  • Carl Vehse

    North Korea threatens nuclear response

    “Go ahead, make my day.”

  • Carl Vehse

    North Korea threatens nuclear response

    “Go ahead, make my day.”

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I think these situations need to be handled with tact. Do we need a joint exercise with South Korea? I believe we do, precisely because of the threat North Korea poses. On the other hand, it is mostly South Korea that will suffer the brunt of the mad Communists in North Korea, so perhaps it should be their decision. On the other hand, if NK does exercise their nuclear option, will we? If we are not willing to retaliate with decisive and devastating force, then risking this seems silly. Which exposes one of the weaknesses in our current administration. Regardless of politics and domestic policies, the President is first and foremost a military leader. Unfortunately, and with all due respect, our current commander in chief has done nothing to assure me that he knows how to conduct himself wisely in military affairs.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I think these situations need to be handled with tact. Do we need a joint exercise with South Korea? I believe we do, precisely because of the threat North Korea poses. On the other hand, it is mostly South Korea that will suffer the brunt of the mad Communists in North Korea, so perhaps it should be their decision. On the other hand, if NK does exercise their nuclear option, will we? If we are not willing to retaliate with decisive and devastating force, then risking this seems silly. Which exposes one of the weaknesses in our current administration. Regardless of politics and domestic policies, the President is first and foremost a military leader. Unfortunately, and with all due respect, our current commander in chief has done nothing to assure me that he knows how to conduct himself wisely in military affairs.

  • Carl Vehse

    Unfortunately, and with all due respect, our current commander in chief has done nothing to assure me that he knows how to conduct himself wisely in military affairs.

    Which answers the question of why NK would even publicly dare to make such an idiotic threat.

  • Carl Vehse

    Unfortunately, and with all due respect, our current commander in chief has done nothing to assure me that he knows how to conduct himself wisely in military affairs.

    Which answers the question of why NK would even publicly dare to make such an idiotic threat.

  • Dan Kempin

    Whistle, whistle past the nuclear graveyard.

    Aren’t you glad civil defense was disbanded and public shelters are no longer maintained?

  • Dan Kempin

    Whistle, whistle past the nuclear graveyard.

    Aren’t you glad civil defense was disbanded and public shelters are no longer maintained?

  • Dr Joan

    What I think is, well, amusing is that NK is threatening a “sacred” response!

  • Dr Joan

    What I think is, well, amusing is that NK is threatening a “sacred” response!

  • Tom Hering

    From what I can see, the winds over the Korean peninsula this time of year would carry radioactive fallout from a U.S. retaliatory strike back down across South Korea. Something we probably wouldn’t want to have happen – especially if the South is already receiving fallout from a North Korean strike. So I’m guessing our response would be limited to conventional weapons.

  • Tom Hering

    From what I can see, the winds over the Korean peninsula this time of year would carry radioactive fallout from a U.S. retaliatory strike back down across South Korea. Something we probably wouldn’t want to have happen – especially if the South is already receiving fallout from a North Korean strike. So I’m guessing our response would be limited to conventional weapons.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, and the Obama bashers will cry “weakness!”

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, and the Obama bashers will cry “weakness!”

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    If you want to launch a nuclear strike it’s unwise to put US missile defense on full alert and readiness.

    Either NK’s leadership is doing this for internal political reasons, or NK’s leadership is just rattling the nuclear saber for blackmail. If our President doesn’t want this sort of thing to recur he ought to respond by punishing NK in a non-kinetic way.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    If you want to launch a nuclear strike it’s unwise to put US missile defense on full alert and readiness.

    Either NK’s leadership is doing this for internal political reasons, or NK’s leadership is just rattling the nuclear saber for blackmail. If our President doesn’t want this sort of thing to recur he ought to respond by punishing NK in a non-kinetic way.

  • Tim Webb

    Ummm, why is everyone here so sure that this is a bluff? When has NK leadership ever seemed to do anything because it is intelligent or reasonable?

  • Tim Webb

    Ummm, why is everyone here so sure that this is a bluff? When has NK leadership ever seemed to do anything because it is intelligent or reasonable?

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    It’s hard to tell if this is anything more than the usual NoKo saber-rattling. If the US had a dollar for every time NK threatened war, we could probably just buy NK outright. On the other hand, I don’t remember ever hearing NK threaten nuclear retaliation specifically for an actual event that’s about to take place.

    NK is so resource-poor that the only hope it would have of actually winning a war against SK and the US is to attack with complete surprise and with everything it’s got in its arsenal, including and especially what few, partially-functional nukes it may or may not have. So in that light it’s difficult to imagine NK giving anybody advance notice of an attack. Then again, these folks aren’t known for their shrewdness.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    It’s hard to tell if this is anything more than the usual NoKo saber-rattling. If the US had a dollar for every time NK threatened war, we could probably just buy NK outright. On the other hand, I don’t remember ever hearing NK threaten nuclear retaliation specifically for an actual event that’s about to take place.

    NK is so resource-poor that the only hope it would have of actually winning a war against SK and the US is to attack with complete surprise and with everything it’s got in its arsenal, including and especially what few, partially-functional nukes it may or may not have. So in that light it’s difficult to imagine NK giving anybody advance notice of an attack. Then again, these folks aren’t known for their shrewdness.

  • Tom Hering

    The North routinely threatens war when the South and U.S. hold joint exercises. And saber-rattling is part of their usual bargaining strategy. The introduction of a nuclear element into their saber-rattling is, I think, for the purpose of gaining some leverage in talks about removing all nuclear weapons from the peninsula. As their threat seems to indicate:

    “The more desperately the US imperialists brandish their nukes and the more zealously their lackeys follow them, the more rapidly the [North's] nuclear deterrence will be bolstered up along the orbit of self-defense and the more remote the prospect for the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula will be become.”

  • Tom Hering

    The North routinely threatens war when the South and U.S. hold joint exercises. And saber-rattling is part of their usual bargaining strategy. The introduction of a nuclear element into their saber-rattling is, I think, for the purpose of gaining some leverage in talks about removing all nuclear weapons from the peninsula. As their threat seems to indicate:

    “The more desperately the US imperialists brandish their nukes and the more zealously their lackeys follow them, the more rapidly the [North's] nuclear deterrence will be bolstered up along the orbit of self-defense and the more remote the prospect for the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula will be become.”

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I suspect the top-secret industry the Washington Post was complaining about is hard at work, trying to determine if the threat is real. When we go to church tomorrow, we drive by some of these facilities. I’ll bet the parking lots will be full with employees called out over the weekend.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I suspect the top-secret industry the Washington Post was complaining about is hard at work, trying to determine if the threat is real. When we go to church tomorrow, we drive by some of these facilities. I’ll bet the parking lots will be full with employees called out over the weekend.

  • DonS

    John @ 5 has it right. South Korea should make the call, and we, as a good and dependable ally, should honor their decision.

  • DonS

    John @ 5 has it right. South Korea should make the call, and we, as a good and dependable ally, should honor their decision.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    #15 As a member of the so-called “top secret industry” I bet those parking lots will be lucky to be 1/20 full (as always on the weekends).

    And of those employees a vanishingly small fraction will be working on things the news is reporting about.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    #15 As a member of the so-called “top secret industry” I bet those parking lots will be lucky to be 1/20 full (as always on the weekends).

    And of those employees a vanishingly small fraction will be working on things the news is reporting about.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL, you’re obviously a disinformation specialist who knows the North Koreans read Cranach.

  • Tom Hering

    SAL, you’re obviously a disinformation specialist who knows the North Koreans read Cranach.

  • Gary

    I think North Korea will do some more “nuclear tests” or ballistic missile launches as its response.

  • Gary

    I think North Korea will do some more “nuclear tests” or ballistic missile launches as its response.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Saber-rattling by every two-bit dictatorship in the world (NK, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) is the legacy of Bush’s war of choice and Obama’s war of choice. NK knows that America has been so weakened economically and militarily by these unnecessary wars that their attack on a SK ship will not be avenged except by meaningly gestures (economic sanctions, military exercises, etc.).

  • Daniel Gorman

    Saber-rattling by every two-bit dictatorship in the world (NK, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) is the legacy of Bush’s war of choice and Obama’s war of choice. NK knows that America has been so weakened economically and militarily by these unnecessary wars that their attack on a SK ship will not be avenged except by meaningly gestures (economic sanctions, military exercises, etc.).

  • Tom Hering

    From Sunday’s New York Times:

    “[North Korea] will likely test short-range missiles and fire artillery in waters near the disputed western sea border and might even attempt a test of its long-range missile and a nuclear device, said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea analyst at Dongguk University in Seoul. North Korea is also enriching uranium to boost its nuclear capabilities. ‘North Korea will try to fend off the mounting joint pressure from the United States and South Korea by retching up tensions in stages,’ Mr. Kim said.”

    I’ll enjoy watching North Korea “retching up tensions.” More than I’d enjoy watching them ratchet up tensions.

  • Tom Hering

    From Sunday’s New York Times:

    “[North Korea] will likely test short-range missiles and fire artillery in waters near the disputed western sea border and might even attempt a test of its long-range missile and a nuclear device, said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea analyst at Dongguk University in Seoul. North Korea is also enriching uranium to boost its nuclear capabilities. ‘North Korea will try to fend off the mounting joint pressure from the United States and South Korea by retching up tensions in stages,’ Mr. Kim said.”

    I’ll enjoy watching North Korea “retching up tensions.” More than I’d enjoy watching them ratchet up tensions.

  • http://www.renaissancerules.wordpress.com Randy Bosch

    The most peaceful short-term outcome prediction: The “Games” conclude, everyone goes home, the No.Koreans declare a stunning victory, celebrate the effectiveness of their nuclear deterrent in driving away the foe. Least destructive short term.

    During the Cold War, “mutually assured destruction” was oft stated to be the best “nuclear deterrent. Might be no different here, except that the No.Koreans appear from actions to using a rather unique ‘rational” operating system.

  • http://www.renaissancerules.wordpress.com Randy Bosch

    The most peaceful short-term outcome prediction: The “Games” conclude, everyone goes home, the No.Koreans declare a stunning victory, celebrate the effectiveness of their nuclear deterrent in driving away the foe. Least destructive short term.

    During the Cold War, “mutually assured destruction” was oft stated to be the best “nuclear deterrent. Might be no different here, except that the No.Koreans appear from actions to using a rather unique ‘rational” operating system.

  • Tim Webb

    Tom, you mentioned, “Saber-rattling by every two-bit dictatorship in the world (NK, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) is the legacy of Bush’s war of choice and Obama’s war of choice.”

    Yes, you’re right, but this NK two-bit dictator has nuclear weapons to rattle. Methinks that might at least make him three-bit dictator.

  • Tim Webb

    Tom, you mentioned, “Saber-rattling by every two-bit dictatorship in the world (NK, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) is the legacy of Bush’s war of choice and Obama’s war of choice.”

    Yes, you’re right, but this NK two-bit dictator has nuclear weapons to rattle. Methinks that might at least make him three-bit dictator.

  • Tom Hering

    Tim, you’re confusing me with someone who uses the word “meaningly” (@ 19). :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Tim, you’re confusing me with someone who uses the word “meaningly” (@ 19). :-)

  • Joe

    “Ummm, why is everyone here so sure that this is a bluff? When has NK leadership ever seemed to do anything because it is intelligent or reasonable.”

    This is how NK has stayed around this long. The have a very sane and rational manner of negotiation. That make a threat and we negotiate a deal. Then later they violate that deal and we negotiate a new deal. Rinse and repeat. This is what they do and each time they gain a bit. They are willing to play this game because they take a very long term view of winning while we take a very short term view of fixing problems.

  • Joe

    “Ummm, why is everyone here so sure that this is a bluff? When has NK leadership ever seemed to do anything because it is intelligent or reasonable.”

    This is how NK has stayed around this long. The have a very sane and rational manner of negotiation. That make a threat and we negotiate a deal. Then later they violate that deal and we negotiate a new deal. Rinse and repeat. This is what they do and each time they gain a bit. They are willing to play this game because they take a very long term view of winning while we take a very short term view of fixing problems.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The North Koreans can threaten war, but as far as I remember, it takes them hours to fuel any delivery system for their nukes. The response might not need to be nuclear, as we have conventional weapons that would do a decent job in making any launch site inoperable for a while.

    And the fallout issue? Keep in mind that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki fallout didn’t poison all of Japan, and that we’ve gotten a little better at “efficiently using fissible material” since then. Given a choice between allowing Seoul to be incinerated and a bit of fallout, the choice is pretty clear.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The North Koreans can threaten war, but as far as I remember, it takes them hours to fuel any delivery system for their nukes. The response might not need to be nuclear, as we have conventional weapons that would do a decent job in making any launch site inoperable for a while.

    And the fallout issue? Keep in mind that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki fallout didn’t poison all of Japan, and that we’ve gotten a little better at “efficiently using fissible material” since then. Given a choice between allowing Seoul to be incinerated and a bit of fallout, the choice is pretty clear.


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