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29 Sep 2017

War with North Korea is now 'a real possibility'

War with North Korea could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and is now ‘a real possibility’, according to the UK’s leading defence think tank.

The latest report from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) found that the likelihood of war has increased markedly, thanks to the rapid nuclear advances achieved by Kim Jong-un’s regime, coupled with the Trump administration’s position that ‘classical deterrence theory’ is no longer working.

If war were to break out then ‘high casualties’ numbering hundreds of thousands can be expected, even without the use of nuclear weapons, says the report, titled ‘Preparing for War in Korea’.

The possibility of war

In the last few years North Korea has greatly increased its nuclear capability and the threat it poses to the United States in particular.

The rogue state may already have the capability to strike Guam and Alaska with nuclear weapons, as well as the closer targets of South Korea and Japan.

The Pentagon predicts that North Korea will have a ‘reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile’ programme by the end of 2018.

Pyongyang is also exercising other elements of its military so that it is ‘ready to use them rapidly in a crisis’, increasing the threat posed to its immediate neighbours.

The Trump administration has responded to these advances outright threats of military violence.

The President told the UN he is prepared to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if the country does not halt its nuclear programme, calling Kim Jong-un a ‘rocket man on a suicide mission’.

Top members of the US administration have echoed this sentiment: Trump’s most senior military adviser told a security conference that ‘it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability’, and National Security Advisor General H R McMaster said that ‘the President has said that he is not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon’.

This all points to the fact that America has not ruled out preventive strikes – despite the knowledge that this could result in war.

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