F. Michael Maloof, staff writer for WND and G2Bulletin, is a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense.More ↓Less ↑
WASHINGTON – North Korea has threatened to shut down the Kaesong Industrial Zone which has been its primary source of foreign revenue, claiming that the “South Korean group of traitors are kicking up a confrontation racket over the DPRK’s important step concerning the situation in the (KIZ).”
This action comes as North Korea again has warned that “war can break out any moment and what remains to be done is merciless punishment of the enemies.”
A North Korean statement added, “Belated regret will be useless and not a single man will be able to survive to regret for his doing.”
The Hermit Kingdom had barred all South Korean employees from entering the KIZ where some 123 South Korean enterprises are located, using the cheap labor of some 50,000 North Koreans who also work there.
The DPRK refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name for North Korea.
In turn, Pyongyong also has withdrawn all of its employees from the KIZ and is suspending operations in the zone altogether.
North Korea said that it will “examine the issue of whether it will allow the existence of the zone or close it in view of the grave situation prevailing in the zone due to the U.S. and the South Korean puppet group’s hostile acts and their war moves against the DPRK.
“The step is a resolute answer and natural decision of the DPRK against the puppet group (South Korea) seeking to use KIZ, symbolic of reconciliation, cooperation, peace and reunification, as a theater of confrontation between compatriots and a hotbed of war against the DPRK,” a North Korean statement said.
Pyongyang’s action comes as it continues to threaten the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike and, as WND has reported, now has threatened military action against Japan.
It also comes as the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, has made a somewhat belated assessment that North Korea in fact has the capability to mount a nuclear weapon on its missiles.
WND previously has reported this capability, raising the prospect that threats of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States could include the ability to launch a multistage nuclear missile toward the U.S. and orbit the warhead – to be deorbited on command to explode the nuclear device at a high altitude.
North Korea is assessed to be able to orbit a satellite which is a prelude to the capability of orbiting a nuclear device to, in effect, far extend the initial range of its missiles.
While North Korea is keenly aware that it cannot defeat the U.S. in a nuclear confrontation, it can engage the U.S. in an asymmetrical warfare scenario by orbiting a nuclear warhead and detonating it on command at a high altitude over the U.S.
This nuclear detonation would create an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that could damage or destroy the already vulnerable U.S. electrical grid system and any unprotected electronic components and automated control systems on which all of America’s critical infrastructures depend.
In addition to the grid itself, those critical infrastructures include telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and financial systems, means of food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems.
In revealing the fact that North Korea has the means of delivering a nuclear device, DIA assessed that it was a crude device. However, U.S. intelligence officials have told WND that there are concerns that such a device still could create such an EMP impact over the U.S.
These officials indicated that U.S. policymakers have been briefed on this potential.
North Korea began to make its threats initially of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S. after its February nuclear test which was described to be for miniaturization – meaning to detonate a warhead capable of fitting on a missile.
That test apparently was a success, given the bellicose rhetoric and threats of a pre-emptive nuclear strike that followed.
North Korea has been waging this war of words ever since the United Nations recently voted in favor of sanctions against North Korea for conducting its missile test in December and the nuclear test in February.
Even China, said to be closest to North Korea, voted in favor of the sanctions, signaling its frustration with the new leadership of 29-year-old Kim Jong-un.
The bellicose rhetoric became louder after the U.S. and South Korea began annual military maneuvers, with a flight of B-52s and B-2 nuclear-capable bombers doing practice bomb drops just 50 miles from the Demilitarized Zone which separates North Korea and South Korea.
Pyongyang immediately seized on this event to say that the U.S. had intentions of conducting a nuclear attack on North Korea, which has added to the brinkmanship North Korea is conducting now through threats of a missile attack against not only the U.S. but South Korea and now Japan.
As WND reported, North Korea may conduct a missile launch on April 15 in commemoration of the 101st birthday of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, who also is Kim Jong-un’s grandfather.
Concern has mounted that the test could be either downrange away from any land, in which case there will be no U.S. reaction, or over Japan, whose officials have promised to shoot down the missile in that case.
The U.S. has placed Aegis anti-ballistic missile ships in the area, as well as reinforced Japan with Aegis systems and sophisticated tracking radars, including Patriot missiles, which will act as a backup, or second line of anti-ballistic missile defense for Tokyo and U.S. military bases on Japan proper and on its island of Okinawa.
Meantime, Pyongyang has signaled a further escalation of the situation leading up to Kim Il-Sung’s birthday commemoration with the shutdown of the vital revenue-generating industrial park at Kaesong, which is located some six miles inside North Korea.
“The South Korean regime is trying to avoid the blame for the grave situation in KIZ and shift it onto the DPRK,” the North Korean statement said. “It is a ridiculous act to distort the truth, avoid public criticism and lay the blame at the door of the DPRK.
“As known, KIZ is a crystal of leader Kim Jong-il’s love for the nation and people and ardent will for reunification…”
The statement went on to say that that South Korea had totally nullified and “ditched the north-south agreements, put the inter-Korean relations at a state of war and is kicking up the frantic anti-DPRK racket under the pretext of DPRK’s satellite launch whose legitimacy is recognized by international law.”
Pyongyang signaled, however, that the KIZ closure was “temporary and what will happen in the days ahead entirely depends on the attitude of the South Korean authorities.”