If the US was to do a preemptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear program I seriously doubt the North Koreans would respond by launching an artillery strike that would flatten Seoul:
North Korea has a massive amount of artillery dug into bunkers and pointed toward Seoul, and missiles that can reach Japan and other key U.S. allies in the region.
A pre-emptive U.S. strike might slow North Korea’s advancing nuclear program, but there is no effective way of knocking out its ability to retaliate.
“A military strike might alleviate our concerns” about North Korea developing nuclear missiles capable of reaching U.S. cities, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “But it would mean Seoul could get flattened.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have only sketchy knowledge of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, which includes ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. They are scattered around in hardened bunkers. Specialized bombs capable of penetrating bunkers would be required to destroy them.
Some of the missiles are mounted on trucks and can be hidden. “All they would have to do is successfully hide the no-dong missiles,” Albright said. “They have hundreds of them.” The missiles have a range of about 800 to 900 miles. [USA Today]
You can read the rest at the link, but if North Korea flattened Seoul this would lead to a regime change invasion of North Korea by the ROK and the US. Kim Jong-un is not suicidal and I believe would instead respond in a limited way that would not lead to a regime change scenario. I think the Kim regime would focus on conducting an asymmetrical retaliation focused against the United States that would include cyber attacks and possibly launching a limited number of ballistic missiles at US targets.
Does anyone have any opinions on how they think the Kim regime would respond to a preemptive strike on their nuclear and missile programs?
What would be an interesting piece of information is what is the pollution to the ground water in other areas of Seoul around Yongsan Garrison? I find it hard to believe that Yongsan is the only place in Seoul with polluted ground water:
A contaminant detected in groundwater beneath a U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) garrison in Seoul was above the permissible level, a government report showed Tuesday.
The U.S. Army base in Yongsan, central Seoul, has long been suspected as the source of oil that has contaminated the nearby water and land.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been conducting a purification project since 2001, but petroleum-based contaminants above the standard level have continued to be detected in water near the base.
According to a joint probe conducted by the environment ministry and the USFK in May 2015, 2.440 milligrams per liter of benzene was found at an observation well at the base, which is 162 times higher than the allowable level of 0.015 milligrams per liter.
Among 14 monitoring wells of 15 to 20 centimeters in diameter, four had benzene levels some 20 to 162 times higher than the standard, the report showed. A total of seven wells showed above standard levels of benzenes. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link, but this pollution issue has long been one that South Korean leftists have used to stoke anti-US sentiment and the Korean government uses to get additional money out of USFK for clean up expenses which according to the SOFA they don’t have to pay.
We will see how this all plays out just like when the camps in Area 1 closed out back in 2004.
Pedestrians look at workers on top of a billboard in central Seoul on April 14, 2017, who started a hunger strike there to demand the abolition of layoffs and temps, and the guarantee of primary labor rights. (Yonhap)
Labor activists unveil the model of a statue symbolizing Korean laborers forcibly taken abroad by the imperialist Japan during World War II at the Yongsan Station Square in western Seoul on April 6, 2017. They called for the government to allow them to set up the statue at the square on the Aug. 15 Independence Day. Early this year, the nation’s two largest umbrella labor unions unsuccessfully tried to establish the statue there on the March 1 Independence Movement Day. The government disapproved the demand, saying the square is state land. Up to 1.4 million Koreans are estimated to have been forced to work at coal mines, factories and construction sites abroad from 1939-45, when Korea was a Japanese colony. (Yonhap)
People form a long queue to enter a newly opened Shake Shack store in Seoul on April 6, 2017. The store is the third of its kind in Seoul. Shake Shack is an American fast restaurant chain based in New York. (Yonhap)
It has seemed to me that the yellow dust pollution from China has gotten worse every year and this study now confirms that it in fact has:
Seoul’s government is trying its best to counter the gunk in the city’s air.
But it admitted Thursday that sources of pollution from outside Korea, including fine particle pollution from China, have increased in the past few years.
“According to our research conducted in 2011 and 2016, Seoul’s contribution to pollution grew from 21 percent in 2011 to 22 percent in 2016,” said Hwang Bo-yeon, head of the Climate and Environment Headquarters of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “But the contribution to air pollution by international factors, including fine dust from China, grew from 49 percent to 55 percent in the same period.
“The city will do all it can, including increasing city-to-city meetings with Beijing to address the problem together.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link.
The activist group Green Korea United has launched another attack on USFK:
At least 90 incidents of oil leaks have taken place inside U.S. military installations in Yongsan, civic groups said Monday, suspecting U.S. Forces Korea of concealing massive contaminations of bases located in central Seoul.
The Green Korea United, an environmental group, Minbyun, also known as Lawyers for a Democratic Society, and a group of Yongsan residents held a joint press conference on Monday and made public their analysis into reports of oil leaks inside the Yongsan military bases from 1990 to 2015. They obtained the reports in November last year by demanding disclosure by the U.S. Defense Department in July last year using the Freedom of Information Act.
They said a total of 84 oil leaks at the main post and transportation division of Yongsan Garrison and nearby Camp Kim and Camp Coiner were documented in the Pentagon records. The number is far larger than the 13 oil leaks so far made public by the National Assembly and media. The Korean official record says there were five oil leaks between 1990 and 2015.
The civic groups also said the Pentagon data was missing six oil leaks that were made public in Korea. Adding them up, at least 90 oil leaks took place, they said. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
So Green Korea has had this information since November and decided now to publish it? Were they waiting until after President Park was impeached to push this issue? Additionally how many of these leaks are just small scales leaks such as someone doing maintenance on a vehicle and having oil accidentally spill out? According to the article only 7 of the 90 leaks were major. It seems Green Korea is inflating the leak number just like in the past the USFK crime rate in Korea was inflated by activist groups by including parking tickets.
Using environmental groups to attack USFK is something that has long been used by the Korean left. The most outrageous example has to be the ridiculous 2000 Yongsan Water Dumping Incident. These environmental groups have primarily focused on stopping the relocation of US bases from the 2nd Infantry Division area and Seoul. Of interest is that the 2006 Il Shim Hue spy scandal uncovered that North Korean operatives were infiltrating the ROK environmental movement to inspire more anti-US sentiment. After the spy scandal was uncovered the environmental groups kept a lower profile with their anti-US activities especially with the election of President Lee. I guess we will see in the coming months if the anti-US activist groups will feel more emboldened to attack USFK over issues like this.
After reading stories about how Korean police ignore crimes against foreigners by Korean men, it is good to see that at least this guy was arrested:
A Korean man in his 30s, surnamed Kim, has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a Japanese tourist he met at a nightclub in Gangnam, Seoul, according to Gangnam police station on Monday.
The tourist in her 20s reportedly visited the club with a friend and met Kim.
Kim allegedly sexually assaulted her after taking her to an emergency stairway.
He was stopped when security guards came to rescue the woman after hearing her scream.
“We heard a woman screaming and crying, so we sent our security personnel outside to check,” a club employee said. “We intervened and subdued the man until the police arrived.”
Kim denied the sexual assault charges, saying his interaction with the woman was with consent, police said. [The Korea Times]
It does seem the Korean authorities are taking sex crimes against foreign women more seriously. It wasn’t that long ago when this was not the case.
Via a reader tip comes picture of Seoul sometime between 1956-1963. More photographs can be viewed at this link.