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?