Letter of the Day | North Korea has a right to her defence
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Soon after the latest North Korean nuclear test, the South Korean government leaked a report detailing its plan to "annihilate" every block of the North Korean capital by, according to the BBC, "conventional weapons". The fact that the South Korean government saw the need to stress that it can destroy the North's capital by conventional means says a lot.
North Korea is perhaps the world's most isolated country. Her relations with China are very frosty right now - a far cry from the days of the Korean War of the 1950s. She is on very bad terms with South Korea and Japan, both major powers in their own right, backed by the United States.
South Korea's stressing of its ability to destroy the North's capital by conventional means proves, to me at least, that South Korea does in fact have nuclear weapons. I also think that the South knows that the North knows this as well.
The government of North Korea fully understands that if a war with the South should start, she would most likely be at war, perhaps a nuclear war, with Japan and the United States as well. Also, her strained relations with China means that she can no longer count on that power for any military support.
Therefore, with powerful hostile countries around her, North Korea has very little choice but to develop the means to deter any threat that these countries may present. Let us not fool ourselves - North Korea is not on a war path to attack South Korea or Japan, contrary to what her propaganda organisations may hint at. North Korea fully understands that that would be the end of the whole region.
MISSILE AND NUCLEAR-DETERRENCE
It is clear, however, that North Korea's continued development of its missile and nuclear strength is its way to deter any threat to her. This includes her continued development of the means to fire missiles at the American mainland, which, if she cannot now do, will soon be able to do.
Also of interest is the fact that as far as the development of these missile and nuclear-deterrence capabilities are concerned, North Korea is virtually fully self-sufficient. As such, she is right when she branded the latest threat by the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions for her latest missile and nuclear tests as "laughable".
North Korea is only doing what any other self-respecting nation would do if it feels threatened.
Michael A. Dingwall