NKorea’s Aging MiGs do Not Stance a Chance Vs Modern US Fighter Jets
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Military analysts say NKorea does not have either the capability or the intent to attack US bombers and fighter jets, despite the country’s top diplomat saying it has every right to do it.
They view the remark by NKorean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and a recent propaganda video simulating such an attack as a responses to US President Donald Trump and his hardening stance against the rogue nation’s nuclear weapons program.
By highlighting the possibility of a potential military clash on the Korean Peninsula, NKorea may be trying to create a distraction as it works behind the scenes to advance its nuclear weapons development, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
Another possibility is that NKorea is trying to win space to save face as it contemplates whether to de-escalate its standoff with Washington, DC.
Speaking to reporters before leaving a UN meeting in New York, Ri said President Trump had “declared war” on his country by tweeting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer.” Ri said North Korea has “every right” to take countermeasures, including shooting down US strategic bombers, even when they’re not in NKorean airspace.
The US frequently sends advanced warplanes to the Korean Peninsula for patrols or drills during times of animosity. Last weekend, US bombers and fighter escorts flew in international airspace east of NKorea to the farthest point North of the border between North and South Korea that they have in this Century.
Moon Seong Mook, a former South Korean military official and current senior analyst for the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said it is highly unlikely NKorea has the real-world capability to match Ri’s words. NKorea’s aging MiG fighters will not stance a chance against much more powerful US fighters escorting long-range bombers.
And while NKorea touted in May that it’s ready to deploy new surface-to-air missiles that analysts say could potentially hit targets as far as 93 miles away, it’s questionable how much of a threat the unproven system could pose to US aircraft operating off the country’s coast.
It is very unclear whether NKorea would be able to even see the advanced US warplanes when they come.
SKorea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing Tuesday that the North’s inadequate radar systems failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew east of NKorea.
It’s highly unlikely NKorea would attempt an attack now, experts say. Amid tension created by the North’s nuclear weapons tests and threat to detonate a thermonuclear missile over the Pacific Ocean, such an attack would pretty much guarantee retaliation from the United States that could lead to war.
The most obvious reason FM Ri made those comments was because NKorea simply cannot tolerate such high-profile insults to its “Supreme” leadership.
It’s also possible that the North is trying to fan concerns about a potential military clash in the region now so that it can win room to save face later when it tries to de-escalate, he said.
“If Kim Jong Un ever offers a moratorium on his missile tests or makes whatever other compromise, he could say made a big-picture decision to reduce military tension in the Korean Peninsula,” Cha said. He said Ri’s comments also allow China and Russian to restate their calls for a “dual suspension” of North Korean weapons tests and displays of military capability by the US and South Korea.
The Trump Administration’s stance on NKorea has been hardening in recent months as the North has been stepping up the aggressiveness of its nuclear and missile tests. It conducted its 6th and most powerful nuclear test on 3 September, which it said was a thermonuclear weapon built for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It tested two ICBMs in July, displaying their potential ability to reach deep into the continental United States. NKorea has also fired two powerful mid-range missiles over Japan in recent weeks.
US President Trump in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week said the United States would “totally destroy” NKorea if provoked, which prompted Kim to pledge to take the “highest-level” action against the United States.
FM Ri then said NKorea might conduct the “most powerful” atmospheric hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, but added that no one knew what Kim would decide.
Meanwhile, the financial markets have not priced in a international panic.
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