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The Military Government United States

The US Waged A Secret Cyber War Against North Korean Missiles (tampabay.com) 233

Early Monday morning North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea of Japan, lending a new urgency to Saturday's revelation from the New York Times of America's "secret cyberwar" with North Korea. Slashdot reader Frosty Piss summarizes its suspected effects succinctly: "Soon after ex-President Obama ordered the secret program three years ago, North Korean missiles began exploding, veering off course, or crashing into the sea."

The Times reports the program was started when Obama "concluded that the $300 billion spent since the Eisenhower era on traditional anti-missile systems...had failed the core purpose of protecting the continental United States," with tests of missile interceptors showing an overall failure rate of at least 56%. But after interviewing government officials, the Times concludes that the U.S. "still does not have the ability to effectively counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programs." Options include escalating the cyber and electronic warfare, trying to negotiate a freeze, asking the Chinese to cut off trade and support, or preparing for direct missile strikes on the launch sites, "which Obama also considered, but there is little chance of hitting every target." The New York Times article concludes: The White House is looking at military options against North Korea, a senior Trump administration official said. Putting U.S. tactical nuclear weapons back in South Korea -- they were withdrawn a quarter-century ago -- is also under consideration, even if that step could accelerate an arms race with the North.
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The US Waged A Secret Cyber War Against North Korean Missiles

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  • Bad decision (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bartles ( 1198017 )

    Leaking this to make Obama look good was not a good idea.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2017 @01:57AM (#53983177)

      It seems you're attaching an Obama motive to everything, which I assume mirrors Trump's attempt to talk up Obama as the super secret leader preventing Trump taking power.

      A quick reality check here, your guy is terrified that his conversations in Trump tower were recorded. US spies in Russia were arrested shortly after he got access to the unredacted pee memos which included the Russian sources names. Those spies Putin had arrest were likely those same sources for the memo. So of course Trump is terrified the FBI recorded his calls, because if he passed the names of those spies to the Russians, then he's guilty of espionage against the USA.

      So did Obama order him spied on? Well there would be a classified FISA order that Trump could declassify if it existed. And he hasn't declassified any such order, so his tweet is either totally false, or he's committing espionage by revealing existance of a classified order.
      Except of course the FBI deny such an order exists, and the Rubio says there was no such order, and Trumps own spokesman saying they won't say anything else about it unless Congress orders and investigation.... i.e. they have nothing to back it up. So we know by the lack of Trump's arrest he's just lying yet again.

      It's fun watching a president implode, but really, trying to save him with partisan rhetoric won't fix the problem. If you're a Republican, then clearly Pence is your man, and Congress do not need to impeach the vice President if they choose not to. They can simply impeach Trump, and we move on and forget this abberation. Pence can be the grownup who takes Trump's place and we put this mess into the past.

      • Pence can be the grownup

        Given his record in Indiana, I'm not so sure he can.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @01:27AM (#53983087) Journal
    North Korea appears to be super-unstable right now. The chubby one can't get along with his Chinese masters, and lacks a good understanding of what is important [telegraph.co.uk]. His underlings don't respect him, understand that the outside world is better (at least, the high-ranking ones do). He keeps them in line by killing them but that doesn't work for very long.
    • China has total control of the North. If it would've been an anymuch genuine issue to them, they would change government in Pyongyan in 1 hour or so.

      • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @01:52AM (#53983165) Journal

        China has total control of the North.

        I don't know what you mean by this. How are they controlling them? There are clear strains in the relationship between the two countries, as I linked in the article above. Here is more information for you to digest [wsj.com]. Claiming that N Korea is completely controlled by China is a horrible misunderstanding of the relationship.

      • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @04:55AM (#53983557)

        Um, no. The only leverage North Korea has over China is that China doesn't want to deal with millions of North Korean refugees, and doesn't want the US or an ally right on it's border.

        China tolerates North Korea in so far as it prevents either of these things happening, but right now the prospect of refugees and a US allied nation on it's border are beginning to look less and less like the worse option for China.

        Given how batshit North Korea is China is also very aware of the remote possibility that should China snub North Korea completely that they're just crazy enough to detonate a nuke on China's border as much as South Korea's border in one last suicidal blow out event. Whilst that may be a remote possibility, the chance of a detonation of a nuclear weapon on your border, no matter how small a chance, is still something entirely worth of consideration in political calculation.

        But North Korea's actions actually act as justification for increased US military build up in the region, which is the exact opposite of what China wants. If China exerted any worthwhile control over North Korea then the ideal situation for China would be a North Korea that sits there quietly behaving itself acting as a harmless quiet buffer that gives the US no justification of escalation, but that's not what's happening, hence why it's pretty clear China does not control North Korea.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tinkerton ( 199273 )

          North Korea's nuclear posture is not any more batshit than any other country that feels seriously threatened. It's pretty much defensive. It should not be hard to negotiate a cooldown with them but I doubt there's any interest from our side.

          • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @11:33AM (#53985179)

            No, North Korea is extremely poor, has few natural resources, and can not feed its people.

            North Korea's nuclear posture is an extortion racket, intended to increase foreign aid. It worked for quite a while - they got money in return for not developing nuclear weapons.

            Unfortunately, some US administrations decided to act tough, and North Korea simply increased the threat in order to extract aid.

            • by dj245 ( 732906 )

              No, North Korea is extremely poor, has few natural resources, and can not feed its people.

              North Korea's nuclear posture is an extortion racket, intended to increase foreign aid. It worked for quite a while - they got money in return for not developing nuclear weapons.

              Unfortunately, some US administrations decided to act tough, and North Korea simply increased the threat in order to extract aid.

              This is a very simplistic view of things, and doesn't even make sense. They are building nuclear weapons to gain more foreign aid? They aren't stupid, it is exceedingly easy to forsee that their nuclear program would have the opposite effect. They haven't exactly tried to keep their nuclear program a secret.

              North Korea is effectively a buffer zone between the 2 most powerful military powers in the world. They know this, and the Korean War never actually ended, as any North Korean will tell you. The

              • The US already has its ally, India, on the China border.

                North Korea's development of nuclear weapons makes it more likely, not less, that it will be considered too dangerous to allow N. Korea to continue to exist. Wise people do not let infants play with loaded machine guns.

        • Um, no. The only leverage North Korea has over China is that China doesn't want to deal with millions of North Korean refugees, and doesn't want the US or an ally right on it's border.

          China tolerates North Korea in so far as it prevents either of these things happening, but right now the prospect of refugees and a US allied nation on it's border are beginning to look less and less like the worse option for China.

          I don't think China sees it that way at all. I wrote up a much longer response explaining why that is currently pretty much DOA (2 points at present), so nobody is going to read it. So I'll try a much shorter response here on a subject that deserves a better write up. China makes real profits off North Korean rare earths, which it gets at a cut rate price for propping up the regime. China doesn't want the US on its border because that could interfere with their attempts to claim essentially the entire S

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        But is China in total control of itself?

        It's easy to see how dysfunctional your own country's politics are but somewhat harder to see how your rival countries act in self-defeating ways. Somehow we picture them as perfectly rational and disciplined (albeit depraved) actors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2017 @01:30AM (#53983095)

    > "Slashdot reader Frosty Piss summarizes its suspected effects..."

    Oh, how I have lived for this day!

  • China will nuke America if they invade North.

    North Korea == Branch of China's military

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The real risk is that NORK leadership will destabilize due to internal staff infighting. When that happens, you end up with the serious potential for NORK military command to think they are under an all-out attack that starts with leadership assassination which may result in them engaging in tactics that might be favorable to the whomever is manipulating them. E.G. the Chinese might find it advantageous to nuke Taiwan or Japan then render military humanitarian aide, putting in government that will eventua

    • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @02:26AM (#53983231)

      America won't invade, if anything they'd strike with Tomahawks and airstrikes. And if you mean literally China will try nuking American forces, then that's pretty unlikely as I am sure the leaders in Beijing understand quite well that if they ever did do that, they'd have approximately 30 minutes left to enjoy breathing. Probably more like 10 though, as I'm sure if things were hot enough in the Korean Peninsula to warrant airstrikes and Tomahawks, the US Navy would have a couple of SLBMs in the area to pop out short quick nuke strikes if things go to hell.

      In other words, no. They won't. Not a lot of people are fans of the US's military industrial complex, but few people with any sense would deny that same military is absolutely capable of country/world ending retaliation if it goes that far.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rastos1 ( 601318 )

        ... but few people with any sense ...

        Unfortunately top officials of USA nor NK do not fall into that category.

      • Well, Chicoms did attack Soviets not once but 4 times, and in all time attacks were completely suicidal.

        And yes, Soviet started to fear them.

        This is how they work.

        • Really? The Chinese attacked the Soviets 4 times with nuclear devices and nobody else in the world noticed that? Do tell.

  • But then I realized that Kim Jong Un probably doesn't use Twitter.

    • Apparently he wants to meet Trump [cnn.com]. One interpretation is that he is firing missiles in hopes of getting a better negotiated deal (which is something the North Koreans have done in the past).
      • It's indeed possible. If we look at Trump, he likes to start negotiations with extreme positions. For example, he started with Russia by dismissing the START treaty and talking about greatly increasing the US nuclear power.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Russia deployed a spy ship off Delware, while Trump was defending Flynn's ties to Russia.
          Russia violated the medium range missile ban, Trump was attacking Netanyahu as deflection at the time.

          It's interesting spin to link Trumps whishlist item of a massive nuclear buildup, to Russia, as though its for use against Russia, or a negotiating tactic with Russia, but no such negotiation exists and no such tough line against Russia exists.

  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @01:44AM (#53983147)
    If the US really took control of the NK missiles the best options would have been to let the weapons have a roughly normal path during the tests (so that NK doesn't suspect anything), and, only if there is a real conflict, redirect them to the sea.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If the US really took control of the NK missiles the best options would have been to let the weapons have a roughly normal path during the tests (so that NK doesn't suspect anything), and, only if there is a real conflict, redirect them to the sea.

      Also why is a 44% success rate of he traditional missile defense system a bad thing. It's better that taking out 0% of incoming missiles. .

    • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
      If the US really took control of the NK missiles the best options would have been to let the weapons have a roughly normal path during the tests (so that NK doesn't suspect anything),

      In fact, the path in this case shouldn't have been roughly normal, but right on target. Nothing like a potential opponent who believes that everything is going just fine when in fact his operations are completely undermined.

    • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

      You're assuming the missiles would have flown a normal path if left alone. I think it's more likely that the missiles are not perfect, and they would have failed anyway, but the sabotage keeps NK from encountering and correcting the real issues.

    • by dwpro ( 520418 )
      I'm not sure about that. Unexplained failures that embarrass a temperamental autocrat can sometimes effect competent scientists being replaced (sadly, violently) with less competent ones.
  • Since we could already obliterate every square inch of north korea, why would putting nukes in south korea be any different? Sure it might be 20mins faster but why would that matter?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @02:22AM (#53983227) Homepage

      It's better for the environment when they don't have to fly so long.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )
      Because North Korea is a buffer zone between China and South Korea. If it falls you want strong military assets in the south to deter any action by China towards South Korea.
    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Since we could already obliterate every square inch of north korea, why would putting nukes in south korea be any different?

      Tactical nukes in S.Korea, vs ICBMs?
      That's like saying "our police already have guns, so why do they need batons, pepper spray or dogs"?

  • Stop buying Western networking equipment and build deeper bases.
    How to keep the NSA out of your networks? Stop buying Western computer networks. The spies are following that modernisation of different networks deep into the nation.
    China knew it was been watched by the NSA and GCHQ. So it took great efforts to hide its tests and production from the 1960's on.
    All the West can do is sail around a nations waters, use flights and satellites. The ability to run spies in most nations is an art that has be
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2017 @03:06AM (#53983321)

    Or leak a story that says the US has been hacking North Korean missiles and causing them to fail. Then sit back and watch the North Koreans work overtime to find the security holes and/or arresting suspected traitors, slowing down their missile program.

    • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

      Oh this. I like this. It could be fun watching them implode. Suggest that they have deep insiders helping.

    • "arresting suspected traitors".
      Traitors don't get arrested in NK, they get blown away with missiles (http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/576846/Kim-Jong-Un-North-Korea-defence-minister-Hyon-Yong-Chol-executed-missiles).

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'm sure they do that routinely anyway. Do you think they saw the US attack on Iranian nuclear systems and just assumed it was a one-off thing and would never be used against them? In fact, if Sony is to be believed, NK is no stranger to hacking foreign systems itself.

  • Why, that's completely UN-Presidented!
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @04:27AM (#53983481) Journal

    By supporting this despotic regime for more than half a century, the Chinese will have to accept the deployment of a (more advanced) missile defense system (THAAD). While I'm sure they're going to retaliate against the South Koreans (and America?) possibly through a boycott and diplomatic sanctions, the South Koreans may have no choice but to try to improve their defenses. If you were faced with a nuclear attack wouldn't you be willing to suffer a bit economically in order to get a better defense?

    Of course if the Chinese push too far or the North Koreans convince the South that their defenses are useless then we may see the worst possible outcome for the Chinese (and probably everyone); South Korea will build the bomb. This is different from the U.S. having some tactical nukes place in South Korea but presumably under control of the U.S.; a S. Korean nuke will make it very clear to North Korea that if they bomb Seoul that North Korea will be completely and utterly wiped out. It won't matter to the South if the North can strike the U.S., they won't care. Of course there's a very good chance that once both Koreas have the bomb that Japan will quickly follow suit, 2000 years of animosity isn't forgotten that easily. This will greatly complicate China's domination of Asia because they'll always have to worry about a catastrophic (even if suicidal) conflict with their formerly vassal states. For example, if China and Japan then got into a serious dispute over the Sendoku islands the whole world would hold its breath.

    One of the reasons why this is coming to a head now is that North Korea realizes that South Korea is without an effective government. The president has been impeached and is awaiting a ruling from the high court to make it official. In the meantime, the interim leader doesn't have the political capital to make big decisions without the mandate of an election. So North Korea is pushing and pushing and is trying to see what it can get. Unfortunately for them (and everyone) the only person they could negotiate with is someone who's grasp of the truth is tenuous and he is erratic to put it mildly (especially at 3am, twitter time). So there's a giant game of chicken being played blindfolded.

    If the American missile defenses were reliable then perhaps this could all be avoided; the North Koreans could threaten all they want but a nuclear warhead couldn't make it to American soil. This was the essence of the American position; the Americans realized it's much harder to intercept short range missile/cruise missile attacks traveling the 50km from North Korea to downtown Seoul (2 min. flight time). So despite the nice visuals of Patriot missiles hitting Scuds, the U.S. told the South that when (not if) North Korea could nuke Seoul, we'd retaliate for you with our nukes. That capability kept the North from having a real threat. Now however, the thought that the U.S. would retaliate for South Korea becomes less credible when North Korea can then (in theory) take out Los Angeles or Washington D.C. Everyone realizes this, so if the North gains a credible ICBM capability and if the U.S. lacks a credible defense, the American guarantee is gone and South Korea is left to the wolves (North Korea). Hence the panic over the inadequacies of the American missile defense/desire for better local defense.

    Returning the subject of this article, the reason why the American defenses don't work (reliably) comes down to simple physics. My physics professor at Harvard was one of the ten(?) members of the scientific commission evaluating Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense system. (Having been given top secret clearance he told me about a trip he had to the Groton, Connecticut sub base into the bowels of one of the "boomers" (SLBM subs) where he was led into a giant space with huge tubes running from floor to ceiling. The admiral escorting him turned to him and said, "Professor Horowitz, you're in the same room as a 200 H-bombs". He told me that basically the problem of hitting a bullet

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @06:19AM (#53983849) Journal

      Of course there's a very good chance that once both Koreas have the bomb that Japan will quickly follow suit,

      It's kind of a bit academic whether Japan actually have an assembled bomb at this point. They have an advanced hi-tech industry as good as any, a very active nuclear industry and a large stockpile of plutonium, and an educational system more than capable of churning out people able to understand the physics. In other words, they have all the components, the ability to and produce them and the people capable of designing them. They wouldn't even need a Manhattan project: they've already done pretty much all of that.

      Not only that but they recently demoed their solid fuel satellite launcher. That's a not-so-subtle hint that they have a launcher easily as good and probably substantially better than the best current deployed ICBM systems, along with the same trappings of being easy to hide and move and easy to launch without being noticed beforehand.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is a result of the US-SK military exercises that they do every year off the coast of NK.

      It takes too long to develop this kind of technology for it to be a reaction to anything that happened in the last year or two. It's a long term strategy. The way to diffuse the situation is for the US and SK to back off and bit and instead rely on hacking and assisting those in NK who are trying to effect political change.

      Like all dictatorships, the one in NK is constantly under threat and there is a lot that can b

    • South Korea will build the bomb

      Considering Israel and South Africa jointly developed nukes in the 70's, its a foregone conclusion that South Korea - as well as Taiwan and Japan - have had theirs for at least twenty years now.

      • Israel and South Africa did not 'develop' nukes together. Israel had them but the collaboration with South Africa allowed them to do actual tests, to see if they exploded as calculated. And if you can do tests you can stockpile more advanced models using less material , still knowing they'll work. Since then Israel went on A visible development is the 'triad', land/sea/air delivery. That's what the germans are delivering submarines for.
        Japan has had 'threshold' nukes for a long time, meaning no nukes are s

    • by Leuf ( 918654 )

      " Now however, the thought that the U.S. would retaliate for South Korea becomes less credible when North Korea can then (in theory) take out Los Angeles or Washington D.C. Everyone realizes this, so if the North gains a credible ICBM capability and if the U.S. lacks a credible defense, the American guarantee is gone and South Korea is left to the wolves (North Korea)"

      I don't believe North Korea has the ability to observe US missile launches and get their missiles in the air before ours hit. China or Russi

  • Look at this from the position of Kim Jong Un, what will he think, how will he react ?

    Will he not view this as more evidence of USA aggression ? Won't this just feed his paranoia ? I would have some sympathy with Kim Jong Un if he were to scream about provocation from the USA. It seems to me very much like prodding a hornets' nest with a stick. It would be foolish to think that any action like this would remain undiscovered forever.

    I am not saying that I like North Korea having nukes, but neither do I like

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      That ability to bluff has ben attempted. Some amazing new "laser" that every nation with atomic dreams wants get lots of press and publication?
      Why the press access to advanced atomic secrets? To bait any nation looking for parts or help.
      That makes any clandestine attempts to get such hardware very easy to track.
      Some EU firm has dual use hardware for sale, an engineer needing cash has "plans"? Could be a MI6/CIA trap to offer fake plans, a system of hardware that sets a project back a decade to any n
  • [the U.S. "still does not have the ability to effectively counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programs."] If they do not know that an umbrella is sufficient to counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programmes they should be sacked. The North Koreans cannot get their missiles to reach a target 20 miles away.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @07:55AM (#53984139) Journal

    For those of you reading, these are some follow up thoughts to my previous comments "China is reaping what it sowed".

    The U.S. is facing a decision of historic proportions. I'm sure the Pentagon has told the Donald that within a year or two, maybe less, North Korea will have an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching much of the United States. Not since the Cuban missile crisis has the U.S. faced such a dangerous AND unpredictable threat (the Cuban missile crisis, while not as unpredictable because the Soviets were apparently a lot more "sane", was more dangerous because the weapons were located much closer with presumably much more powerful warheads).

    So there is a really big INCENTIVE for the U.S. to take out the ability for North Korea to take the final steps to this capability BEFORE they get this capability. I'm sure they would also more or less permanently reduce North Korea's nuclear infrastructure to rubble (it took many decades of deprivation to get to where they are, presumably with heightened awareness the Chinese won't be quite so accommodating to their attempts to rebuild the bomb). Perhaps the U.S. will also try to take out the top of the North Korean government, it would be easy enough to say a bomb went astray (as if any justification was necessary).

    Unfortunately there may also be a really big COST if the U.S. does not completely wipe out all the bombs (and other weapons of mass destruction, as NK has shown, they have produced at least minute quantities of the deadliest chemical weapon known to the public, VX). There's a chance that, the Dear Leader will see he will have a very limited lifetime left surrounded by those around him who want him dead (because he killed off so many of his "enemies") that is if he isn't dead already from the strike against the nukes. The only thing that protects him now is his aura of power from threatening the U.S. and S. Korea with his nukes; without them he's just another dictator.

    So, if he knows he's going to die, he might just try to take as many with him as possible, not from the U.S., but from its capitalist lackeys. S. Korea and Japan. If he's got any nukes left there's (I think) a much better chance he'd be able get them through the defenses surrounding Seoul than across the Pacific to L.A. As I mentioned, it's less than 50km to Seoul from the North Korean border, that's only 1-2 minutes ballistic missile flight time. Or he could use a low flying drone/fighter/helicopter to evade radar. Or he could put it on one of the mini-subs that every now and then are found prowling around S. Korean waters. Or maybe send it via diplomatic carrier (I don't know if this'll work in S. Korea, maybe Japan). Or maybe just explode one at the border along with a few tons of radioactive waste left over from processing; the fallout would be a great radiological weapon (think Fukushima but if it happened near Tokyo).

    The problem here for the U.S. and South Korea is that while the incentives are all for the U.S. to conduct a pre-emptive strike, the costs are (almost) all borne by South Korea (and maybe Japan). This would be the time when the U.S. and South Korea really need to stand together as one and present a united front to their opponent so that IF a strike was made, preparations ranging from an immediate paratrooper assault on Pyongyang to prevent a counter-strike to getting people into shelters. Unfortunately as I mentioned before, South Korea is leaderless and would likely follow any such dramatic decision with great hesitation if at all.

    This is what North Korea is counting on, that's why they're pushing now. The real wild card is what will the mercurial President of the United States; who said to the campaign that "he would make South Korea (and Japan) be responsible for their own defense" to some more recent comments he made (I think so far only to the Japanese) that the alliance was rock solid. Unfortunately the orange haired one may have the reputation of being somewhat of a paper tiger after he challenged the Chin

  • "Early Monday morning North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea of Japan"

    At least they managed to pick a target they could actually hit.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @10:02AM (#53984649)
    I suggest to any interested parties that they read Victor Cha's book "The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future". Cha worked for a lot of different US administrations in dealing with North Korea and having actually been there and participated in negotiations, he has an insider's look at things.

    Basically, China has more influence than they are willing to use, but not as much as outsiders think. China paid a real price in blood to defend the North in the Korean War. One of Mao's own sons was killed in the conflict, although if you look up the information about this, you may realize that he put himself in jeopardy when it happened. China seems to have used what I will call a brute force approach to the war after entering it, but simply throwing huge amounts of soldiers into battle and suffering horrific casualties, but winning enough ground to push UN forces back about to the current dividing line. Even though the vast majority of the Chinese Communist Party leadership either were kids when this happened or not born yet, the CCP does still like to bring this up. They still drill into school children in China about how Mao himself lost a son in the conflict.

    The Soviet Union and China had been vying for position and influence in North Korea and Kim Il Sung was a master of playing them off each other. In fact, the whole reason they have nuclear weapons is because the Soviet Union gave them their reactors and the technical know-how that led to them developing the weapon. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Boris Yeltsin immediately cut off all aid to North Korea, leaving China to look around and sort of say "What just happened?" China picked up the slack in terms of providing aid. Some of this is because of the shared legacy of the Korean War. A lot of it is that China benefits big time from North Korea's existence. North Korea has a lot of rare earth deposits which China gets at a huge discount for helping them. And as North Korea borders a Chinese province with a very large ethnic Korean population (China took it by force from an old Korean kingdom almost 800 years ago), China fears that if the North Korean government collapses, there will be a humanitarian crisis and tons of illegal immigrants will flee into China in desperation. China is telling the truth when they say they want stability in the peninsula and when they say they want it denuclearized, but China sees the status quo as totally in their favor and views all changes as bad outcomes for China, so there are real limits as how far they will push things. Here's what China fears if North Korea collapses.

    1) A huge influx of refugees will cross the border, causing China to have to spend large amounts of resources to feed and house them and it will take away from using these resources to keep their own population in check.
    2) International aid organizations will likely demand access to China to help, which China doesn't want.
    3) North Korea's nuclear weapons could end up in South Korea's hands, which China doesn't want.
    4) A united Korea would definitely be a US ally. It could be that instead of the US leaving, that the US ends up having military bases in the former North Korea and thus are right on China's doorstep.
    5) China will no longer get North Korean rare earths at a bargain price. In fact, there may be so much resentment towards China for helping to prop up the North Korean government that those rare earths go anywhere but China.

    China realizes that eventually the North Korean state will collapse. But they hope to push that date as far into the future as possible as, like I said, they view all post-North Korean outcomes as very bad for them. Note too that China is very good at the duplicity game of telling outside countries that they need to do something which China itself is unwilling to do. I get that they don't like THADD going to South Korea, and personally I think that sending it there should never have been made public, but their lack of interest in really turning the screws on North Korea has led to this and they seem unwilling to accept their own responsibility here.
    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      I suggest to any interested parties that they read Victor Cha's book "The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future". Cha worked for a lot of different US administrations in dealing with North Korea and having actually been there and participated in negotiations, he has an insider's look at things. Basically, China has more influence than they are willing to use, but not as much as outsiders think. China paid a real price in blood to defend the North in the Korean War. One of Mao's own sons was killed in the conflict, although if you look up the information about this, you may realize that he put himself in jeopardy when it happened. China seems to have used what I will call a brute force approach to the war after entering it, but simply throwing huge amounts of soldiers into battle and suffering horrific casualties, but winning enough ground to push UN forces back about to the current dividing line. Even though the vast majority of the Chinese Communist Party leadership either were kids when this happened or not born yet, the CCP does still like to bring this up. They still drill into school children in China about how Mao himself lost a son in the conflict. The Soviet Union and China had been vying for position and influence in North Korea and Kim Il Sung was a master of playing them off each other. In fact, the whole reason they have nuclear weapons is because the Soviet Union gave them their reactors and the technical know-how that led to them developing the weapon. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Boris Yeltsin immediately cut off all aid to North Korea, leaving China to look around and sort of say "What just happened?" China picked up the slack in terms of providing aid. Some of this is because of the shared legacy of the Korean War. A lot of it is that China benefits big time from North Korea's existence. North Korea has a lot of rare earth deposits which China gets at a huge discount for helping them. And as North Korea borders a Chinese province with a very large ethnic Korean population (China took it by force from an old Korean kingdom almost 800 years ago), China fears that if the North Korean government collapses, there will be a humanitarian crisis and tons of illegal immigrants will flee into China in desperation. China is telling the truth when they say they want stability in the peninsula and when they say they want it denuclearized, but China sees the status quo as totally in their favor and views all changes as bad outcomes for China, so there are real limits as how far they will push things. Here's what China fears if North Korea collapses. 1) A huge influx of refugees will cross the border, causing China to have to spend large amounts of resources to feed and house them and it will take away from using these resources to keep their own population in check. 2) International aid organizations will likely demand access to China to help, which China doesn't want. 3) North Korea's nuclear weapons could end up in South Korea's hands, which China doesn't want. 4) A united Korea would definitely be a US ally. It could be that instead of the US leaving, that the US ends up having military bases in the former North Korea and thus are right on China's doorstep. 5) China will no longer get North Korean rare earths at a bargain price. In fact, there may be so much resentment towards China for helping to prop up the North Korean government that those rare earths go anywhere but China. China realizes that eventually the North Korean state will collapse. But they hope to push that date as far into the future as possible as, like I said, they view all post-North Korean outcomes as very bad for them. Note too that China is very good at the duplicity game of telling outside countries that they need to do something which China itself is unwilling to do. I get that they don't like THADD going to South Korea, and personally I think that sending it there should never have been made public, but their lack of interest in really turning the screws on North Korea has led to this and they seem unwilling to accept their own responsibility here.

      Having been to North Korea myself, I think we are only seeing part of the picture. It is also worth noting that North Koreans seem to dislike both the Chinese government and Chinese people, since they are frequently taken advantage by both. Their attitude towards the US government is also very negative, but they are neutral to friendly to US citizens.

      I have to disagree that North Korea will eventually collapse. Despite all the sanctions and other efforts by the US, and the death of the leader twice,

  • If the failure rate is at least 56% for missile interception, why not just launch more interceptors? I am surprised that success rate is even that high frankly. It's possible that failure rate already includes using saturation, in which case forget I asked this.
  • If the United States had any control over those missiles at all, they would have redirected them towards a US ally then use it as a pretense / excuse for a military strike. I guarantee the plans are already in place, targets have been pre-selected and the whole thing is ready to go at a moments notice.

    A legitimate excuse is all that is needed to get things started.

    Since China refuses to reign in their local idiot, it's only a matter of time before a cruise missile does.

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