back to article Happy 4th of July: Norks tests another missile

North Korea's regime remains bent on brinkmanship, with yet another missile test launched and suspicions it reach Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone. The governments of South Korea and Japan are convening emergency meetings of their respective national security councils after the test, which appears to have been a ballistic …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What, North Korea can't celebrate the 4th July by letting off some fireworks?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      With China's permission, of course Fat Boy Kim is allowed to do this.

      China think that letting FBK behave like a dick is a good thing, and somehow that a divided Korea keeps them safe, and is conveniently troubling for the S Koreans, Japanese and Americans. What it shows, is rather the opposite, that China is absolutely happy with the brutal repression of the Nork population, that China is a politically immature country disinterested in human rights (well, as if that was doubted given what they do at home), and not interested in becoming part of a civilised world order.

      The Chinese economy has been partially modernised. Evidence around the world indicates that you can't keep a lid on the democratic aspirations of an increasingly wealthy population in the longer term. It seems a pity that by the mindset that includes childishly backing FBK, China seems to be avoiding the need for political reform. That won't end well for the party, but resolution could be some decades away yet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        America is a politically immature country (How could it be otherwise, it's only 230 years old), and is disinterested in human rights. Though isolationist policy it's seeking to distance itself from the civilised world order, and renegading on environmental protection.

        China is the embarrassing proof that you can have successful capitalism without democracy, which should surprise nobody, expect yanks who were raised to believe democracy and capitalism are the same, or at least "on the same team".

        America seems to be avoiding the need for political reform (universal health care/socialism). That won't end well for the ruling elites, but could be some decades away, on the wrong side of total collapse.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          China is the embarrassing proof that you can have successful capitalism without democracy,

          That's yet to be proved. China has a heavily investment-led economy. For the last thirty years it's been very successful at export-led growth by fixing its exchange rates at a very low level. This had the nice effects of helping them export more by keeping them cheaper, and effectively reducing the wages of the workers - as if the currency had risen naturally, they'd have got richer. They were further helped by many hundred milllions of people coming off the land and into the cities to swell the work-force.

          That's all good, however it's coming to an end. That's the easy stuff that many economies have proved can be done by planning. But their working population is starting to shrink (due to the one child law), most people have now left the rural econony) and their investments are getting less and less returns. Basically because all the bank investment goes into the state controlled sector of the economy and people have mostly been forced to save into banks at crap rates (often below inflation) - but the state controlled sector is the most corrupt and least efficient. Because it's run as much to give sinecure jobs to the party elites than to make money. Corruption in China dwarfs anything that happens in the democracies.

          The most efficient bits of the economy are the private bits, which are also the bits the state deliberately starves of funds. Which has forced them to borrow at higher rates from dodgier sources, hence the huge worries about the Chinese shadow banking sector - basically again because government intervention has made their banking system close to useless.

          Again, planned economies have their downsides. 2 years ago China probably went into actual recession (from 7% growth the year before) purely because the government banned local government from borrowing from the banks they controlled. This being an obvious risk to those banks going bust (see German Landesbanks and Spanish Cajas for details). This was to be replaced by a new system of local debt issuance, but the ban happened on Jan 1st, and the new debt issusance didn't happen until sometime in April. Hence the economy looks to have shrunk in the first quarters, but made up lots of that growth later in the year. Again, non-democratic governments can just make up the figures.

          To be honest a lack of democracy is much less of a problem, than a lack of rule of law. It's possible that democracy follows from having a genuine rule of law, it certainly makes it more likely. But it's not having your stuff nicked by random party officials that really allows you to invest.

          Anyway, about now is the crunch time. Can the Party keep dancing, or will they fall over, and fuck everything up. For example, they've no longer having to maniuplate their exchange rate down. This is not so good however, as it's basically due to capital flight. Any Chinese person who can, wants to get their money out of the country, and the hands of the party. So what money for investment there is, is being wasted on the state-controlled sector (much of it loss-making and suffering from chronic over-capacity), and there's not enough money to invest in the private sector to keep the economy growing so fast.

          In summary, it's complicated. And so far I've seen nothing to suggest that Churchill wasn't right. Democracy is the worst system in the world, except for all the others.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          America is a politically immature country

          <cough>Brexit!</cough>

      2. Triggerfish

        China is absolutely happy with the brutal repression of the Nork population

        Sorry but what are you expecting them to do? Roll over the border in tanks? Bring peace and justice like has worked so well in Afghanistan and Iraq?

        Plus I have the feeling rolling over that border is going to be more than insurgency attacks, that's going to be a big ol' fight, Fat Boy Kim may even just fire artillery at Seoul as well to make it a total party.

        Even if you win you now have the problem of dealing with 25 million people, most of whom were probably starving before you got there and probably haven't done any better since the little war started. 25 Million refugees basically.

        Evidence around the world indicates that you can't keep a lid on the democratic aspirations of an increasingly wealthy population in the longer term.

        Also I thought that, buts some conversations with people who actually live in these places make me wonder. Quite a few seemed reasonably sanguine about a lack of party choice as long as they were OK, one described it to me as moving to a communist heirachy was a natural feeling as they went from hierarchy of family, to hierarchy of government, so culturally they were adapted to it, unlike us Europeans who had loads of revolutions. As long as they have their immediate freedoms some of them did not seem to be bothered by the right to vote, or freedom of speech, one even said it was a bit insult for us to look down on them as having no freedom because of that.

        I am reminded of Juvenals bread and circuses comment.

        Please note there are also people getting banged up for exercising what we would expect as our right over here, so YMMV, but it was quite interesting to me a lot didn't feel they were being repressed.

        Also note if you have enough money then sometimes, that 'repression' can work for you, nothing like a bit of corruption when you have money, and the person annoying you doesn't.

        1. Triggerfish

          Extra note, thats only those I have talked to, and so not a great sample size, anecdotal evidence only, and you don't start many conversations with "So what's it like being repressed?". :)

        2. Ledswinger Silver badge

          @Triggerfish

          Sorry but what are you expecting them to do? Roll over the border in tanks? Bring peace and justice like has worked so well in Afghanistan and Iraq?

          Who said anything about bringing peace and justice? At what point did I imply or suggest that there was a need for total war in North Korea? You've assumed that invasion is the only way of "persuading" FBK, and that's not the case.

          My point was that FBK is utterly dependent upon China, if they wanted to make him do anything it is within their gift. And I wasn't proposing that the Chinese would or should invade, all they need to do to be a credible part of the global community would be to instruct him to stop dicking around with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, "or else". Obviously the Chinese have the power to follow through if need be and install a puppet government, but I think that being threatened by China, FBK will back down. I'm also certain the US would happily tolerate a bit of border skirmishing and shelling caused by the Norlks if that's the price of bringing North Korea to heel (even the Chinese heel).

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: @Triggerfish

            A fair enough point, although they have already asked ( some of the tests were near their border and they were a bit miffed with that). Not sure if Kim really listens fully though. His family have made a living out of being just dangerous to leave alone and keep happy with food aid, and coal buying. Think of some of the help the US has given Israel and how much influence they really have.

            We could stop the food aid, China could stop buying coal, more people can starve, Kim wont mind he's putting on weight nicely. If it gets to much he'll kick off and shell someone, I don't think we are dealing with a rational person.

            How far do you go with the threat, will you carry it out? Cos if you have to back down from someone like that all bets are off.

            Would say I suspect there's also the part of the great game, NK makes a nice buffer.

            Really not sure some border shelling and skirmishing is all that will happen though, and can you be sure it will be? Surely that's a large risk to take, also the skirmishes will happen in SK they may have an opinion.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: @Triggerfish

              Triggerfish,

              NK makes a nice buffer.

              That's harsh. I know Kim is a bit of a porker, but even he's not that fat...

              I believe the Chinese stopped buying their coal a couple of months ago. Though I've not been following things closely enough to know if that was a quick slap on the wrist, or a punishment that they're still keeping up. However China are still supplying the regime with a whole load of subsidised oil. But that's the nuclear option, if you'll pardon the pun, as once the oil dries up, the army becomes a lot more a paper tiger than it probably already is. Which makes it very hard for the regime to continue the high levels of oppression needed to renew itself. I'm sure they've got reserves, but I'm sure even the Chinese don't know what happens if they do that.

              However, they've got quite a lot of ecomic levers. There's a lot of Koreans working in China and sending stuff back across the border. This is possibly the only thing making life bearable for the folks at home.

              Kim 3, after looking like he'd reverse Kim 2's minor reforms seems to have relented, so lots of people have small personal food plots and these actually do produce something, unlike the collective farms. People are now allowed to sell this in still illegal (but ignored) local markets. That and remittances from China mean the place is a lot less desperate than it was in the 90s famine, or even 10 years ago.

              However he killed his uncle a couple of years ago. And that guy was the main regime link to China - and had been so for Kim 2. By the looks of it, Kim 3 has made no attempt to fix things up, and has even done stuff to deliberately snub the Chinese leadership. So I wonder even how much they know about what's going on inside the regime. If not much, it's no surprise if they're even more cautious than normal. Though they've taken a few public steps, like cricising and joining some UN sanctions, and especially stopping buying the coal, that are major steps compared to previous Chinese policy.

              Does it now come down to if they're more worried by what Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump might do?

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Mushroom

          "Fat Boy Kim may even just fire artillery at Seoul as well to make it a total party."

          that's pretty much a guarantee, in the minds of most of the people I've heard discussing potential scenarios.

          Kim Jong "Fatass" "Cartman" Un is basically INSANE. He rattles his saber, and expects people to pay him to shut the hell up and go away for a while. Unfortunately this used to work for his predecessor, but his predecessor knew when to shut the hell up. I'd expect him to act like Cartman and say things like "Respect My Authoritah!".

          We're talking about a tin-horn dictator of an oppressive regime that stuffs his face and gets FAT while his people STARVE (and then hates being called 'Fatass'). His biggest concern is his own EGO. He wants to show how large his penis is to the rest of the world, in the shape of nuclear bombs and missiles capable of hitting his neighbors.

          Now, here's what I think: they don't have any stockpile. Whenever they get one built [read: whip the minions harder to make them go faster until something's completed] they launch it. Or blow it up. Or do a 'nuclear test' with it. (but they DO have mobile artillery already pointed at strategic locations in S. Korea).

          I suspect they have NO stockpile of WMDs, though. After all, this is ALL about Fatass. When he "feels powerful", he's happy. When the world calls him "Fatass" and proves how powerless he REALLY is, he gets all bent out of shape and launches something (or does a nuclear test) to show how 'powerful' he is.

          Now, with a little amateur psychology, someone THIS unstable is VERY likely to launch everything he has in one "stand alone" strike against EVERYBODY at the same time, knowing full well that a) he'll never win, b) everybody WILL attack back, and c) the only outcome is a bunch of craters, a lot of 'glassed' cities, and enough fallout over N. Korea and surrounding areas to cause problems for the next several years.

          OK - armchair world leaders, how do we deal with this?

          I think that the G20 summit may be well timed. I think China and Russia will get on board with whatever the USA [and S. Korea and Japan] end up doing. And China may even help. But yeah, it won't be pretty, because the N. Korean people are SO indoctrinated, they'll fight down to the last man, woman, and child.

          And we've seen what the solution to one of THOSE situations was before, a little over 70 years ago. I don't think we want to go there. (but MOAB and conventional cruise missiles might prove to be a nice substitute)

          /me wonders what the effect of a MOAB dropped on Fatty's head would be...

          (icon because of the topic)

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Evidence around the world indicates that you can't keep a lid on the democratic aspirations of an increasingly wealthy population in the longer term.

        NK has been under oppression for so long, I'd wager that most folks there haven't a clue about democracy. Or consider Russia.... yes, they're trying to figure out how democracy is supposed to work, but with Communism being in place for so long, the knowledge of the masses is lost and needs to be re-learned. China is going through this also. It may work, or may not. Depends on how hard the government clamps down and keeps control. And I should add, governments do not give up their power easily.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "But it's not having your stuff nicked by random party officials that really allows you to invest."

          Ah, so you were NOT affected by the US banks collapsing mortgages, or is it that corrupt democratic officials have plausible deniability, were communist officials do not? I actually agree with everything else you typed, but maybe your bias is bleeding through with that sentence.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      We're sure this wasn't a rogue county in the UK?

      https://radiofail.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/north-yorkshire-nuclear-fail/

  2. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    +1 for the wargames pic

    And b'cuz Ally Sheedy was te hotness :)

    Can we replace the Paris Icon with an Ally Sheedy one please!

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Up

      Re: +1 for the wargames pic

      Came here to make the same comment.

      Some had Princess Leia's gold bikini as an awakening, I had Ally Sheedy's yoga/stretching in War Games.

  3. Mikel

    Sea of Japan takes another hit

    What did the Sea of Japan do to offend him so?

    1. K.o.R

      Re: Sea of Japan takes another hit

      Decline to be called the "East Sea"?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Linux

      Re: Sea of Japan takes another hit

      Kim's going to be in deep shit soon. Once Godzilla gets properly annoyed, Pyongyang is history!

      Oi! El Reg! Why don't we have any giant dinosaur icons? I've picked the closest, which is a small dinosaur.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Sea of Japan takes another hit

      "What did the Sea of Japan do to offend him so?"

      There's "Japan" in its name! It should be named the "Great Sea of the Undefeated Prosperous Nation led by the Great Successor to a Glorious Future"

  4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    "See? I promised you fireworks."

    (intentionally blank)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't worry about north Korea's shenanigans because lets be honest America ain't going to do anything when they have a massive army less than two hours away from Seoul.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Fat Boy Kim scoffs hot dog and feels feisty. Orders fireworks party on 4th of July.

    This being NK, you know there's no pig in that 'dog.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    @ LedSwinger

    Evidence around the world indicates that you can't keep a lid on the democratic aspirations of an increasingly wealthy population in the longer term.

    You can.

    It's called "war". --->

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just spare a thought for your average NK citizen who is forced into poverty and starvation thanks to China propping up this toon town.

    China have you no shame, go fix NK as it's your mess.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      China isin't really propping them up.

      Ok, China was providing food and coal. they stopped doing both IIRC some while ago after the NK chaps assassinated the alternate leader for NK that China was keeping alive as a threat to the Kim boy. Now what do you expect them to do, invade?

      Nobody wants to invade a country armed with nukes with an unstable leader in charge. "don't do anything to make him press the button" is the rule of the day, while doing everything short of that to signal displeasure.

      Short of shelling the border (with food parcels and consumer goods with nice notes about "we don't want to fight you, please have these instead of nuking us- signed rest of the world" there isn't really a huge amount that can be done about NK that I can see.

  9. wolfetone Silver badge
    Happy

    North Korea launches a rocket? Brilliant. But given their track record I'd be more worried if they launched 100 rockets and they were all successful. A lot of the time they test one and it breaks.

    Plus, I'm not in America. So er, yeah. Feeling pretty darn safe where I am right now!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, feel free to feel safe, but given the track record you reference, my concern is they aim for America and hit not-America instead..

  10. Chris G Silver badge

    NK is the main reason the US is able to keep a big military presence and a fair amount of sway in South Korea, the yanks won't be getti g rid of the norks any time soon. Behaviour like this just reinforces the need for them.

  11. Tom Servo

    Sabre ratling, we'll be fine.....

    unless some clown on the world stage just as demented decides to needle KJU with a tweet deriding him personally as bullying is the only way he can get satisfaction, in which case we've got a problem.

    Oh.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Sabre ratling, we'll be fine.....

      the LAST thing we need to do is REWARD "Fatass" (aka 'Cartman') for his bad behavior.

      I'd rather taunt him into doing something stupid, so that his OWN PEOPLE take him out.

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Oy!

    What's on TV, then?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Oy!

      Global thermonuclear war.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Oy!

        How about a nice game of chess?

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Oy!

          I'd prefer it, but one players got fingers so fat he can't tweet coverage, the other has a bad haircut, they're both petulant and terrible losers. It's buckets of sunshine either way.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Oy!

            What do you mean, "the other's got a bad haircut?" Which one are you claiming has a good haircut?

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Oy!

              That is a fair point. :)

  13. ZanzibarRastapopulous Silver badge

    Preemptive strike

    Only option left, anything else is just gabbing on until the Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and so are free to invade SK.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Mushroom

      "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

      So flash fry the whole US just to get SK?

      Sounds like overkill to me.

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous Silver badge

        Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

        > So flash fry the whole US just to get SK?

        Don't need to, just need to make sure the Americans don't intervene, which they won't if there's a risk of getting into a nuclear war.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

          Don't need to, just need to make sure the Americans don't intervene, which they won't if there's a risk of getting into a nuclear war.

          This is why the US has troops stationed on the inter-Korean border. And the same reason the US had troops in Germany, even though NATO doctrine pretty much admitted the Soviets could get to the Rhine whenever they wanted. Unless NATO used tactical nukes.

          The idea is that nobody would want to join in a posisble nuclear war. But once the other side has already killed 20,000 of your troops, you're already in it. Which gives the other side pause for thought, as obviously to attack Germany/Korea meant/means engaging US troops, i.e. attacking a nuclear power directly.

          Also, it's not a given that the North can beat the South. Obviously their army hasn't been tested in a long time, but then neither has the North's. South Korea's defence budget is only something like 3 or 4% of their GDP, but that's equivalent to the entirety of the North's GDP, because the North is a dirt-poor shithole that's been run into the ground for the last 70 years.

          On which subject, what's the morale of the DPRK troops going to be like? There's more of them than the South have, but a quick Google suggests they still use 1950s T55s in frontline units, and the best they've got are T72s. So we're talking similar capabilities to Sadam's Iraq, though they may be better led (or not). Good military leaders mean rivals for power, which Sadam didn't tolerate, and I doubt the Kims do either. They do have a ton of special forces though, which would create havoc. They've probably got much more artillery, and better defensive terrain (if they choose not to attack), but a much less modern airforce.

          1. ZanzibarRastapopulous Silver badge

            Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

            LoL You're playing top trumps. The bottom line is that the US conventional forces are about to be emasculated because it won't be possible to use them without the loss of a major US or allied city.

            This is a big loss of power for the US, it's either act or lose it.

          2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

            Quote: They've probably got much more artillery,

            And that the problem.. a shedload of short range missiles and 155mm artillery aimed at all the interesting targets south of the DMZ... like the South Korean capital

            Hit that with some rockets loaded with VX and you're looking at 50 000 casualties before 30 mins have gone since declaring war.....

          3. IglooDude

            Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

            "They've probably got much more artillery, and better defensive terrain (if they choose not to attack), but a much less modern airforce."

            Much less modern airforce, indeed. In that particular respect, given SK, Japanese, and US airpower and air defenses in the region, it'd be like the Spanish Armada coming to invade an England defended by Jellicoe's Grand Fleet.

            But on the whole, I sometimes wonder if the anti-Nork alliance is awaiting production-ready anti-artillery defenses before really pushing back on Kim, hoping to get it up and rolled out before the nuclear ICBM threat starts approaching credible levels?

          4. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: "just gabbing on until..Norks have the ability to nuke the whole US and..free to invade SK.

            Obviously their army hasn't been tested in a long time, but then neither has the North's.

            South Korea has had more recent military experience than North Korea. For example, most of the South Korean Marines spent a lot of time in Vietnam, and Ho's boys learned real fast to NOT attack the ROK Marines. They basically only left because the US pulled the rug out from under them, they wanted to hang around and kill Commies en masse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Marine_Division_(South_Korea) https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/so-what-kindve-atrocities-did-s-korean-marines-do-to-vietnamese-people-in-the-vietnam-war.1765979/page-2

            You really, really, REALLY don't want to get the ROK Marines mad at you. You really don't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Preemptive strike

      They do not need to nuke whole of USA. It was quite hilarious reading ANALists opinions about Kim's war games being severely limited as he has not mastered the reentry bit just yet. You do not need reentry to obliterate a high tech opponent in this day and age.

      Two thermonuclear warheads. Small ones - a few 100Kt. One above eastern seaboard, 200km altitude, outside any currently existing defenses range, one above western seaboard. The result is no grid, no communications, fried ECUs on all vehicles and the whole country (except the Amish) immobilized to a halt.That is all it takes.

      NK already has most of the tech for that so we might as well bite the bullet and deal with it.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Preemptive strike

        Erm, a few problems with that.

        The DPRK's biggest test so far was about 10KT - so they're a long way from 200KT. That was a land-based test, they're still a while away from miniaturising their warheads to smaller than a shipping container. They may not even have the ability to drop a warhead from an earoplane, let alone getting one onto a missile. They're also still testing fission, or just possibly boosted fission, not fusion warheads.

        On which subject, their longest missile tested so far can reach maybe Alaska. Even the Western seaboard is a mite further than that, let alone the Eastern.

        Next the US do have the ability to intercept Nork missiles. They have at least 3 layers of missile defence. THAAD is the final stage area defence, there's a mid-course missile to hit warheads in space and the rather better tested SM3's which they have deployed in the Sea of Japan to shoot missiles on the way up.

        Obviously that doesn't help with a surprise attack which looks like a missile test. And I've no idea what the quality of intelligence sources inside the DPRK is.

        If you're talking about disguising this warhead as a satellite, rather than re-entering the atmosphere, then they've launched one satellite, which they never gained control of. So they neither have the tech for control in space or for re-entry.

        200km seems rather high. I'd have thought the atmosphere would still be giving quite a lot of shielding at that distance, which brings me neatly to my final point. Nobody has ever tested an EMP weapon. Nobody knows how, or even if, it would work.

        So there's one hell of a lot of if here, and an awful lot of rather complicated tech that the DPRK may be quite a long way from developing - let alone mastering. If they ever can. They have very limited resources.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Preemptive strike

          Oh noes! I typed "earoplane" by mistake - then corrected it to... "earoplane". Ooops!

          That's the kind that can't pass the speed of sound, as the boom hurts too much.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Preemptive strike

            Well it made me laugh!

            A target could get some nasty wax from an Earoplane warhead.

        2. Annihilator

          Re: Preemptive strike

          "Obviously that doesn't help with a surprise attack which looks like a missile test. And I've no idea what the quality of intelligence sources inside the DPRK is."

          This is the confusing thing. Either, they need to know in advance of a missile launch, which renders all the defensive capabilities rather useless without intelligence (which I doubt they have a huge amount of in NK). Or, they can intercept any missile they detect, which means they didn't in this case.

          So either, the missile defence stuff is useless, or NK are bullshitting with their claim of a successful test of an ICBM.

          Or third option, the US knew of the test, and let them carry on without reacting.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Preemptive strike

            Most of these tests are known about in advance from satellite images. Though if the Norks go the solid fuel route, then that warning could disappear.

            But they do have the ability to analyse the trajectory of the missiles once fired. So they can decide to think about intercepting anything they don't like the look of. Also, anything that comes in range of the Alaska missiles is probably fair game. Much harder for the AEGIS ships in the Sea of Japan to decide in time.

            Remember though that Sourh Korea ought to find it much easier to recruit intel sources in a neighbouring country that shares a language, culture and direct family ties.

        3. Denarius Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Preemptive strike

          >> Nobody has ever tested an EMP weapon. Nobody knows how, or even if, it would work.

          Designed as such in an exo-atmospheric test, maybe. By accident done long ago in South Pacific. H Bomb blew burglar alarms in Hawaii in early 1960s or was it 1958 ?. Also caused auroras over southern hemisphere. Story goes that no-one knew at time that lithium in the lithium hydride broke down to tritium and made H bomb way more powerful than intended.

          Personally, I would suggest NK exists to needle merkins for the Chinese and even the NK generals know that any attack on USA soil would result in new lovely round glass bottom lakes north of Seoul. One wonders what would happen if there was an organised mockery of the fat boy mk3 instead of breathless political punditory and panic. One also wonders how much NK economy can produce in missiles Building a series of prototypes is one thing, building 20 reliable ones to wave around is another..

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Preemptive strike

            "Story goes that no-one knew at time that lithium in the lithium hydride broke down to tritium and made H bomb way more powerful than intended."

            Nope, they know that well. The case was Starfish Prime, as described here:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

            What they did not appreciate was the EMP mechanism, or if they did they did not realise it would cause damage so far away. And this was largely in the pre-semiconductor era where a few hundred volt spike was laughed off by a thermionic valve. Today even a smallish bomb could cause serious EMP damage to a lot of our critical systems that are not EMP-hardened for military use. More technical info here (PDF doc):

            http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf

      2. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: Preemptive strike

        the whole country (except the Amish) immobilized

        I, for one, welcome our new Amish overlords.

    3. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Preemptive strike - Do you mean "Pre-emtive"?

      Just saying.

  14. Stratman

    Should I be surprised

    that NK's missiles don't seem to suffer 'unusual software anomalies' quite soon after lift off?

  15. Petalium

    Mandatory Reading

    "Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty " by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

    "Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). "

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory Reading

      "Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). "

      Isn't this a bit "No Shit Sherlock"?

      As far as I know there are no political and economic institutions which are not man made - politics and economics are abstract constructs of human brains, not entities that exist in reality.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Mandatory Reading

        " which are not man made"

        tru dat

        Also its fairly obvious that " political and economic institutions" have an effect on economic success (or lack of it)

        Although, thinking about it, a non man made tsunami , famine , hurricane or earthquake could also have a significant negative effect on the lack of economic success of a nation , just as finding a shitload of non man made crude oil can have a very positive effect .

        Also a lot of man made factors that are not Politicians or Economists can have a bearing. E.g. an army of slave labour stolen from a recently colonised neighbour. A scientific breakthrough. A speedy broadband infrastructure , a smallpox vaccine?

        in fact the more i think about it politicains and economists are probly just pen pushing parasites , without whom the world wouldnt be much different. probably . It'd be worth a try wouldnt it?

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Mandatory Reading

          Also its fairly obvious that " political and economic institutions" have an effect on economic success (or lack of it)

          Very true.

          Although, thinking about it, a non man made tsunami , famine , hurricane or earthquake could also have a significant negative effect on the lack of economic success of a nation , just as finding a shitload of non man made crude oil can have a very positive effect .

          Not sure you can really class a tsunami, hurricane or oil deposit as an "institution" though?

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory Reading

      "Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson seem to have got the knack of stating 'The Bleedin' obvious'

      Are they making money at it?

  16. JimboSmith Silver badge

    Girl in my office when the DPRK* first tested the bomb was all in favour of it as they were "Only trying to defend themselves". I suggested that she was wrong and that on those lines she would obviously be happy with me bringing a [hypothetical] gun to work. She wasn't despite my repeated assurances that I'd only use it for "self defence". I pointed out she was sitting in the same place in the office as Japan would be to my North Korea (with a gun), so was she still comfortable with them having the bomb? She now strangely said no.

    *Sir Humphrey Appleby: North Korea, isn't that a democracy?

    Sir Richard Wharton: Its full name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.

    (with apologies to Sir Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn)

  17. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Best bit

    Norkistan brought our favourite newsreader out of retirement to tell us the news:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40491138

    Would it kill Fiona Bruce to look that happy when she's reading the headlines?

  18. petetp

    Happy American Brexit Day anyway.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More amusingly...

    Trump took to Twitter to ask if Kim Jong Un "has nothing better to do" than test ICBMs. Without a hint of irony, he tweeted this from a golf course.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe Trump could build a (very tall) wall around them?

  21. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Beware, NK!

    To punish you Trumpy will make a revengeful tweet! Ah-ah, you're shaking in your boots aren't you?

  22. T I M B O

    Although i believe that Kim Jong-Un is trigger happy & should be on a leash, but the question that nobody is asking is: Where did all the other countries test there weapons?

    Why should the biggest embarrassment in USA living history tell other country's what to do.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    "Why should the biggest embarrassment in USA living history tell other country's what to do."

    In the words of well known political commentator "Professor" Denis Leary*

    "Two words. Nuclear f**king weapons. We got the bombs, and there's not a Godamm thing anyone can do about them."

    *Who's much praised by many of his colleagues for his ability to express complex geopolitical issues in a succinct, yet accessible manner for the layman.**

    **The rest just think he's an Ahole.

  25. CentralCoasty
    Mushroom

    Ok. So The Orange Master of Mirth (because the only two options when you look at him are laugh or cry) has managed to:

    Upset Russia over Syria, Ukraine & because of backlash on Trumpgate

    Upset some of the Middle East with Qatar & Iran

    Upset China over the South Chinese Seas

    Upset NATO over contributions (fair call though)

    Did I miss someone?

    ... now he's sabre-rattling against FBK......

    If that goes pear-shaped he might get lots of tokenism from the UN but I cant see anyone putting boots on the ground to help a situation he has escalated.....

    ... but then he has already put the options of nukes on the table (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/03/trump-asks-why-us-cant-use-nukes-msnbcs-joe-scarborough-reports.html)

    ... so maybe he just plans on nuking them until they glow in the dark.... after all, that will teach them to threaten the US with nukes... (erhm?)

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