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Recently, the North Korean KCNA news agency announced the planned launch of four ballistic missiles Hwasong-12 in the direction of Guam in mid-August. According to the idea of the North Korean military, ballistic missiles must fly through the southwestern prefectures of Japan (Kochi, Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime) and fall 30 km from the coast of the island. If the supreme leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-Un, approves the plan, 14 minutes will be enough for the missiles to reach the island. Guam is an unincorporated organized territory of the United States, and the inhabitants of the island have American citizenship. There is the naval base Apra Harbor and the Andersen air base. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is convinced that North Korea poses no significant threat to the United States, and Americans can "sleep well at night." Former US national intelligence director James Clapper, on the contrary, expressed his concerns and draws parallels between the current exacerbation of the North Korean problem and the eve of the First World War.
Kim Jong-un’s logic
The very idea of launching North Korean ballistic missiles in the direction of Guam Island in Pacific refers to events related to the bombing of Pearl Harbor military base in December 1941 by militaristic Japan, which served as an excuse for the US to enter World War II. Apparently, the North Korean dictator seriously imagined himself the second emperor Hirohito and decided to provoke the fear of American society in front of the threat of external aggression. More than one generation of American citizens knows about the Japanese attack on the military base of Pearl Harbor. Then in December 1941, 2,341 military and 54 civilians were killed by Japanese air strikes, 1143 military and 35 civilians were wounded. More civilians were affected in New York because of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, organized by Islamic extremists from Al-Qaeda. Then 2,977 people were killed, about 6300 people were injured. Kim Jong-un wants to prove in practice the possibility of nuclear missile strikes on the military and civilian infrastructure of the island of Guam. The population of the island is 163 thousand people, of which 6 thousand are the US military. The planned launch of North Korean missiles, even without nuclear charges, can entail human casualties. Guam, which is located in 3,4 thousand km from North Korea falls into the radius of the Hwasong-12 missile (4,5 thousand km). And also the missiles could deviate from the trajectory and fall on residential areas of the island of Guam or Japan.
Kim Jong-un blackmails Donald Trump using military force against American citizens and makes it clear that if he does not completely change his policy towards the DPRK, then the US territory will become the target for the North Korean military aggression. The island of Guam is the beginning. The dictator expects to achieve from the US and the UN unilateral cancellation of all existing sanctions against North Korea. Recently, new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea entered into force in the United States. The UN Security Council approved, at the initiative of the United States, a new package of restrictive measures against the DPRK, which provides a ban on the import of coal, metal, iron ore, lead, and seafood from the DPRK. The UN member states are prohibited from increasing the number of North Korean workers in their territories, creating joint ventures with the DPRK, and investing in the North Korean economy. New sanctions will reduce North Korea's annual profit from exports for a third ($ 3 billion).
The North Korean leadership is interested in stopping the United States and the United Nations from impeding the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and recognizing the DPRK as a nuclear power. The nuclear status is interesting to Kim Jong-un as a guarantee of the security of his regime. He wants to force the US to withdraw troops from South Korea and not interfere in Korean affairs. So that due to fear for the lives of its citizens, the White House turned a blind eye to the aggression of North Korea against South Korea and the unification of the two countries under the jurisdiction of Pyongyang. The idea of North Korean militarists is to unite the north and south into a single communist state.
The planned launch of missiles is something like a warning shot of North Korea. If the US does not do what the North Korean Communists want, then American citizens on the island of Guam will be at their gunpoint. This is not the first threat to the security of Guam from North Korea. In 2006, an unofficial North Korean representative said on ABC radio that Japan, Guam and Hawaii would become missile targets if the UN imposed tough sanctions against the DPRK. In March 2013, the North Korean military stated that the Andersen airbase on Guam Island is within a radius of defeat.
Donald Trump will answer with "fire and fury"
Kim Jong-un makes a fatal mistake, moving from diplomacy to saber-rattling in relations with the United States. America was limited to tightening sanctions in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons tests on its territory and launching ballistic missiles far from the American coast. As already mentioned, Guam is under US administration, has its representative in Congress and thousands of American citizens live there. Even if North Korean missiles fall 30 kilometers from the coast of the island, the United States has the right to retaliate against North Korea. No state has the right to condemn Americans in this case. According to Art. 50 of the UN Charter, any state has the right to self-defense in case of aggression from another state. The distance of 30 km from the coast of the island of Guam fits into the territorial waters, including their surface, subsoil, airspace, which is subject to the sovereignty of the coastal state, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. In this case, we are talking about the island of Guam, which legal subjectivity is interrelated with the sovereignty of the United States. After it became known about the planned missile launches of North Korea, Guam's governor Eddie Calvo stated that his island is the American land, and not just a place for military infrastructure.
The day before Donald Trump said that it would be better if North Korea would not threaten the US, otherwise it would meet "fire and fury" that the world had never seen. The phrase "fire and fury" recalls the name of the military doctrine "shock and awe", developed in 1996, which the US used during the first phase of the military operation "Iraqi Freedom" in 2003. In the case of North Korea, there is a more favorable situation for the US military. The European Union condemns the actions of the DPRK and unilaterally imposed additional sanctions. Even China, which at one time changed the course of the Korean War of 1950-53, drove the US forces back at 38 parallel and saved the North Korean regime from destruction, does not support the aggressive actions of Kim Jong-un. According to the Chinese newspaper Global Times, if North Korea launches missiles that threaten the US territory, and the US responds to this action, then China will remain neutral. China will support North Korea only if the United States and South Korea are the first to launch a preemptive strike and try to overthrow the ruling regime. Kim Jong-un personally provokes the US to conduct a military operation in North Korea on the scenario worked out in Iraq, as he intends to launch missiles first.
The North Korean dictator made a mistake with the target for military provocations. The 36 air wing of the US Air Force is located on the territory of the Andersen airbase on Guam Island. On the territory of the base there are strategic bombers V-52, capable of carrying nuclear warheads on their board. Guam is an outpost of the United States in the Pacific, and the local military contingent is trained to participate in military operations in the Asia-Pacific region, including in the event of military action against North Korea. 36 Air wing joints are able to turn into ruins military facilities, research centers and test sites that are involved in the nuclear missile program, as well as the military units of North Korea at the border with South Korea, where the long-range artillery is located. The military operation against North Korea is an extreme measure. The North Korean military can cover South Korean cities from long-range artillery, launch ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan as a response to US bombing, if the US Air Force does not have time to destroy it.
Consequences worse than war
Kim Jong-un has a chance to remain in power and follow the example of his father Kim Jong Il, who in 1994 agreed with former US President Bill Clinton and suspended the North Korean nuclear missile program in exchange for supplies of American food and fuel. If Kim Jong-un still decides to launch ballistic missiles in the direction of Guam, North Korea is expected to experience disappointing political consequences. The US will have every right to initiate further tightening of sanctions against North Korea at the national and international level in order to deprive the local population of access to imported food and fuel. From the import of these nomenclatures depends the survival of North Koreans, who have not yet forgotten about the famine of the 90s. Even more loyal countries with regard to the DPRK, such as Iran, India, Russia and China, will not be able to cooperate with it. The act of aggression against the island of Guam is a reinforced argument for the United States to impose sanctions against legal entities and individuals of any country that trade with North Korea.
The US, Australia and the European Union will continue to persistently demand from China to persuade the DPRK to voluntarily stop the launch of ballistic missiles and nuclear tests. Beijing is not interested in turning North Korea into a testing ground for Tomahawk cruise missiles and aerial bombs. A convenient option for solving the North Korean problem is to carry out on the territory of the country a preventive deployment of the Chinese army under the pretext of preventing war with the use of nuclear weapons. Chinese Communists should declare an ultimatum to the North Korean adherents: either the transfer of all existing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons to China, the dismantlement of nuclear reactors under the supervision of the Chinese military mission, or the deployment of People's Liberation Army of China units in North Korea, which will take control of the situation in the country. It is doubtful that the North Korean military will fiercely resist the Chinese army, which exceeds them quantitatively and qualitatively. The intractable Kim Jong-un can be replaced by a more inclined to compromise North Korean official or military, capable of carrying out reforms in the country on the Chinese model. This scenario is a more acceptable alternative for China than crowds of North Korean refugees who will seek refuge in Chinese cities, fleeing from American bombing. China will be able to keep North Korea in the orbit of its influence, work out the reputation of a peacemaker, strengthen its authority in the APR and prevent the emergence of US military at its borders. But so far, China limits its activity by periodic transfer of large military factions to the North Korean border.