North Korea: What happens if Kim Jong-un acts on his threats?
In the event that the 'bellicose rhetoric' of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un turns into something more serious, the opening hours of conflict could be 'pretty ugly,' defense analysts warn.
By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / March 29, 2013
Veteran North Korea watchers, citing what they see as increasingly troubling signs coming from the dictatorial regime, are voicing concerns that its new young leader, Kim Jong-un, could do something ill-advised, even start a war.
On Friday North Korea renewed what the U.S. has condemned as its “bellicose rhetoric,” saying Kim had ordered the nation’s missile forces to prepare to strike the United States and South Korea.
In response to the prospect of North Korea following through on this and other marginally less dire threats, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the US military “will unequivocally defend, and [is] unequivocally committed to the alliance with, South Korea.”
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But if hostilities were in fact to erupt, how might they play out?
Some former US Special Operations Forces and longtime Korea defense analysts have their own thoughts on what an “unequivocal” US military response could look like, including how US troops would be deployed in the event of a lethal first strike on US and allied military forces by North Korea – precisely the sort of move Mr. Kim has been threatening to make.