Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > The North Korean diplomatic effort

The North Korean diplomatic effort
Thread Tools
The Final Dakar
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 03:49 PM
 
Late thread, but what do you make of how things are progressing? Or their cause?

It's hard to imagine this would happening under a Clinton administration.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 03:55 PM
 
Well, so far it fits my theory this was a “Cold War speedrun” gambit.

I’ll admit, when I originally offered that speculation, I was seeking refuge in wishful thinking.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 03:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
It's hard to imagine this would happening under a Clinton administration.
Perhaps not what you were thinking, but NK’s sudden buildup smacks of Russian ****ery, which I doubt would be so overt under a Clinton administration.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 04:11 PM
 
So lawyers are sitting on Trump every day now ... and China has been leaning on Kim behind the scenes?

They're both hotheads. Either this isn't real and normal insults will resume shortly. Or China really has been threatening NK behind the curtain.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 04:15 PM
 
I hear one of NK’s test nukes accidentally blewed up.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 04:18 PM
 
I had an alternate theory pop into my head the other day when news was talking about how Moon and Un have been communicating: Trump comes off as so unhinged that both SK & NK are making nice because they know they'll both be the collateral damage if Trump's trigger finger gets itchy, and they just don't want to chance it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
They're both hotheads. Either this isn't real and normal insults will resume shortly. Or China really has been threatening NK behind the curtain.
… and Trump lacks any long-term strategy. Some of the conservative kommentariat are likening this to the only-Nixon-can-come-to-China moment, but Nixon had much more of a grasp on what it was that he wanted to do.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 21, 2018, 10:14 PM
 
I certainly wouldn't give any person who would argue Trump acting unhinged on twitter was a concerted strategy to bring them to the table any credence. But I have to think whatever the admin does once they get there he deserves credit for.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 22, 2018, 09:50 AM
 
No, of course, you are right: if Trump manages to get a deal as he is so fond of saying, he deserves the credit for that, and it'd be undoubtedly his biggest achievement as President towering everything else. The bigger problem I have here is that given Trump's volatile personality and the type of people he has surrounded himself with, a negative outcome could indeed have disastrous consequences (as opposed to just “no deal”).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 22, 2018, 12:47 PM
 
If memory serves, the last NK nuclear test came during the opening of the BRICS conference. Upstaging Xi Jinping's opening speech - China was host.

It is plausible there have been consequences behind the scenes. Kim suddenly turning negotiable on his nuclear option, to cut a deal with Trump ... this feels far less plausible.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 22, 2018, 12:59 PM
 
What really confuses me is they seemed to undermine Tillerson's efforts, yet they sent his replacement Pompeo, over for a covert meeting a few weeks ago.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 22, 2018, 10:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
If memory serves, the last NK nuclear test came during the opening of the BRICS conference. Upstaging Xi Jinping's opening speech - China was host.

It is plausible there have been consequences behind the scenes. Kim suddenly turning negotiable on his nuclear option, to cut a deal with Trump ... this feels far less plausible.
I don't think Kim Jong Un's announcement that further weapons tests will be suspended is really worth much: it is clear that North Korea is a nuclear power with the full range of capabilities. We can only speculate at this point about the size of his arsenal or the real life accuracy, but that's not something I'd want to put to the test.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 25, 2018, 09:48 PM
 
Ah-hah. The mist begins to clear. That nuclear test site NK is promising to close?
North Korea’s main nuclear test site has partially collapsed under the stress of multiple explosions, possibly rendering it unsafe for further testing and leaving it vulnerable to radiation leaks, a study by Chinese geologists has shown.
As to giving up medium & long-range missile tests. I'm suddenly wondering if the embargo has made needed parts unavailable. This NK diplomatic effort is looking more and more like a lemonade-from-lemons move.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 25, 2018, 11:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Ah-hah. The mist begins to clear. That nuclear test site NK is promising to close?
I fully expect that North Korea's leadership takes advantage of such convenient coincidences. But on the other hand, the goal of its tests have been reached: North Korea's nuclear capabilities are no longer a matter of speculation.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
As to giving up medium & long-range missile tests. I'm suddenly wondering if the embargo has made needed parts unavailable. This NK diplomatic effort is looking more and more like a lemonade-from-lemons move.
Perhaps, but I would still caution everyone here: North Korea will certainly learn from the experiences Ukraine, Libya and Iran have had after they have denuclearized. And the offer of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula certainly includes removing South Korea and Japan from the US's nuclear shield. I don't know enough about South Korean politics, but Abe and his government will do everything in their power to not let that happen. And even if it happens, there are plans in the drawers for Japan to get their own nuclear weapons.

As far as I can tell, North Korea wants a seat at the big boy table with all the other nuclear powers. While the US is still in denial and pretend that they can do something about North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2018, 12:20 AM
 
     
Chongo
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2018, 09:42 AM
 
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2018, 11:31 AM
 
War’s over. Everybody go home.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2018, 11:36 AM
 
Perhaps strange observation...

I’ve never seen Kim in motion before. He doesn’t have the bearing of a world leader.

He kinda moves like a kid, tbh.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 27, 2018, 12:17 PM
 


Shitpost testing shall continue.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Apr 28, 2018, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Perhaps strange observation...

I’ve never seen Kim in motion before. He doesn’t have the bearing of a world leader.

He kinda moves like a kid, tbh.
     
Waragainstsleep
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 29, 2018, 03:44 PM
 
I heard a rumour that they had basically hollowed out a mountain with 100Mt blast and everyone was terrified that a fault line had been destabilised and the mountain would start spewing radioactive dust everywhere. That might explain why China started leaning on them.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 29, 2018, 04:42 PM
 
Those are rumors. The biggest NK blast was estimated as at least 100 Kt. Geologists are worried about Mount Paektu, about 100 Km away. Which might be nudged enough to erupt. Such an eruption would not emit any radiation.

NK's test site has become unstable underneath, too dangerous to dig around and plant more bombs. If a collapse went wrong, radiation could escape. If the wrong sections got exposed to the surface.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 29, 2018, 07:40 PM
 
China’s increase in pressure I think is understandable even in the absence of such geological dangers: China wants a buffer between NATO and itself, but wants to keep the pants on in the relationship. In particular, China prefers North Korea not to become an actor that could actually initiate nuclear war without China’s say so.

We should also not underestimate the desire of Koreans to reunify, and they might be willing to pay a price for that that the US and its other allies are not comfortable with. During a trip to (South) Korea I met a Korean researcher with whom I discussed the separation, and he said “Look, we have 5,000 years of history as a people, this will in the end be a blip in the grand scheme of things.” 
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 29, 2018, 09:32 PM
 
China would get its' buffer. I'm sure any reunification agreement would keep all foreign soldiers below the 38th parallel. As I see it, the only real impediment is the NK regime. If suspected details are true, they've been pretty good with the internment and mass graves of dissidents. Even China limits that stuff to civil rights lawyers today.

But as the NK regime places its' own survival as the highest priority, I'm not seeing how reunification could happen. Short of internal collapse. NK's nuclear ambitions are just that - there's no deterrent value. The US has no taste for a renewed Korean war. Too close to China, too costly, too many boots. I don't see it happening, with or without NK nukes.

So I do agree, NK's nuke program is an attempt to become an important country. I don't see that happening either though.
( Last edited by reader50; Apr 29, 2018 at 10:24 PM. Reason: typo)
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2018, 05:59 PM
 
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/whi...-trump-n868961
In one heated exchange between the two men before February's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Kelly strongly — and successfully — dissuaded Trump from ordering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, according to two officials.
So let me get this straight – Trump almost gave up a bargaining chip for negotiations (one I think would be stupid to give) before the game even started?
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2018, 09:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
China would get its' buffer. I'm sure any reunification agreement would keep all foreign soldiers below the 38th parallel.
I did not mean to imply that I see reunification on the table, I was talking about denuclearization and a normalization of the relations between North and South Korea. That was an important step that West Germany took in the 1970s under Chancellor Brandt: he visited Eastern Germany and normalized relations. He was branded a traitor by the conservatives, but they were quite happy that these relations had started, because over time the East became dependent on money from the West (paid to e. g. buy the liberty of prisoners or due to trade). So when the East became politically unstable, the West was there. That's what South Korea's strategy is IMHO. But in case of Germany took another two decades, so this is really long-term.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
But as the NK regime places its' own survival as the highest priority, I'm not seeing how reunification could happen. Short of internal collapse.
Yes, you are spot on: Kim Jong Un is primarily interested in the survival of his own regime, and consequently the existence of North Korea as a separate state.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
NK's nuclear ambitions are just that - there's no deterrent value. The US has no taste for a renewed Korean war. Too close to China, too costly, too many boots. I don't see it happening, with or without NK nukes.
Nukes do have a strong deterrent value, because even if the West executes a perfect military campaign with the blessing of China, North Korea's nuclear weapons may raise the cost for that significantly (e. g. by nuking Tokyo or perhaps aiming at America proper). North Korea's nuclear weapons are an insurance policy against invasions and against being treated like a ball with which the big powers play ping pong. Look at Ukraine, Iran or Libya for comparison: Ukraine gave up its huge Soviet nuclear arsenal and gave them to Russia in return for territorial guarantees. How did that work out for them? Do you think Russia would have invaded them and annexed part of their territory just because if they still had had the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal?

North Korea's regime wants nukes so as to ensure the survival of its state and — by extension — of the Kim dynasty. An invasion is now much, much less likely given the higher stakes for the attacking coalition. Hundreds of thousands of casualties in some far flung country can be ignored, but even 3,000 dead on US soil (a small number when compared with the expected casualties of a nuclear attack) give rise to a very different reaction.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
So I do agree, NK's nuke program is an attempt to become an important country. I don't see that happening either though.
North Korea has had an outsized importance (as compared with, say, its population or economic output) for decades now, and the nuclear program is one of the main reasons here. So I am not quite sure what you mean by your last sentence: North Korea's nuclear capabilities are a fact now, and it needs to be treated differently than Denmark or Senegal. Everything else seems like kabuki theater at this point.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Chongo
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2018, 09:32 PM
 
Moon says Trump deserves the Nobel peace prize.
https://news.sky.com/story/donald-tr...ident-11353799
"President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace," Mr Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to an official who briefed media.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2018, 09:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
So I do agree, NK's nuke program is an attempt to become an important country. I don't see that happening either though.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
North Korea has had an outsized importance (as compared with, say, its population or economic output) for decades now, and the nuclear program is one of the main reasons here. So I am not quite sure what you mean by your last sentence: North Korea's nuclear capabilities are a fact now, and it needs to be treated differently than Denmark or Senegal. Everything else seems like kabuki theater at this point.
No doubt NK will continue to get attention as a problem state and a wildcard. But by "important country", I was thinking they want a seat at international tables. A country with influence. Which I do not see happening.

• They have a few nukes, with no delivery method. A rocket test with a dummy payload is far from a tested-and-working reentry module with reliable targeting.
• If they launched a nuke, I expect China would stand aside. It's the one case that would draw an invasion. If China ever got into a nuclear war, it would be by their own decision. Not backing up a hotheaded neighbor.
• NK has no economy. With the sanctions, they have almost no trade. No economic shadow to influence world decisions.
• They have a large military on paper. But leaked word shows NK has inadequate logistics to support their own army even at home. Soldiers have to work & barter on the side, or endure near-starvation rations. So it's an army on paper, one they could not sustain in the field.

So they'll remain a country talked about a lot. They had that before they got nukes. As I see it, NK doesn't need nukes as a deterrent - no one will invade without a blessing from China.

Their nukes are an effort to become an important (influential) country. As they have none of the other qualities that make a country influential, I don't see that happening. At present, they can't even test any further. Having given themselves a hotfoot ruined their own test site.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 1, 2018, 03:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Moon says Trump deserves the Nobel peace prize.
https://news.sky.com/story/donald-tr...ident-11353799
Before we take out the champagne, we should all wait what the US-North Korean talks actually yield. Trump’s ideas span a huge gamut (such as withdrawing US troops from the Korean penninsula), and it is not clear whether Trump would get majorities at home or the consent of all its regional partners (most notably Japan).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 10, 2018, 11:12 AM
 
Trump's tweeted that the meeting will be June 12 in Singapore.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 15, 2018, 11:14 PM
 
Korea starting to pull some ****ery. Testing Trump's resolve, I imagine: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-k...ay-2018-05-15/
North Korea's first vice foreign minister says the country has no interest in a summit with the United States if it's going to be a "one-sided" affair where it's pressured to give up its nukes. The statement by Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday came hours after the North abruptly canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to do the same with a planned summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump next month.

Kim Kye Gwan criticized recent comments by Mr. Trump's top security adviser John Bolton and other U.S. officials who have been talking about how the North should follow the "Libyan model" of nuclear disarmament and provide a "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement."

He also criticized other U.S. comments that the North should completely abandon not only its nukes and missiles but also its biological and chemical weapons.

Kim says: "We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations."

He adds: "But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting."
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2018, 01:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
No doubt NK will continue to get attention as a problem state and a wildcard. But by "important country", I was thinking they want a seat at international tables. A country with influence. Which I do not see happening.
This way of thinking is, IMHO, misplaced price. You see, North Korea already is treated differently, because they have nuclear weapons. We can argue whether we should treat them more like Pakistan or India or France or Israel. Because their nuclear arsenal is, by current estimates, just big enough to hit most population centers nearby, i. e. to destroy a country rather than mankind. Moreover, that is not what North Korea's goal is (continued below).
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• They have a few nukes, with no delivery method. A rocket test with a dummy payload is far from a tested-and-working reentry module with reliable targeting.
That's not correct: it is not clear whether they have working ICBMs with nuclear warheads yet, but they have had working medium range missiles for a decade now. If we assume that their nuclear ICMBs aren't operational yet, that puts you out of range, but I am squarely within range. As are parts of China, South Korea and so forth.

Plus, we frankly don't know how capable their ICBMs are, and I would not want to take the bet that North Korean nuclear ICBMs are not operational. The longer we wait, the more likely it is that North Korea works out the kinks.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• If they launched a nuke, I expect China would stand aside. It's the one case that would draw an invasion. If China ever got into a nuclear war, it would be by their own decision. Not backing up a hotheaded neighbor.
Who cares if China then stands aside, hundreds of thousands or more will be dead at this point. (Without hyperbole, a death toll in the low seven digits is not out of the question if they target the Tokyo metropolitan or Kansai metropolitan area. And if Seoul is also shelled.)
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• NK has no economy. With the sanctions, they have almost no trade. No economic shadow to influence world decisions.
North Korea has a clear strategy: develop nuclear weapons first, then develop the economy; that policy is called Pyongjin.
Originally Posted by John Park
The first part of it is building nuclear weapons for self-defense, minimal nuclear deterrent. The second is prosperity, economic development leading to improvement of the overall economy, and so, from that perspective from a domestic audience, you look at that formulation of Pyongjin and, through the statements from the regime and through the state media, the message is quite clear. North Korea has become a nuclear weapons state, not in terms of another member of the nuclear weapons club, but the P6, essentially the sixth within the group of great powers that have this type of weaponry, the nuclear weapons that can go across continents, so from that perspective, the idea of economic development projects now coming online in coordination and cooperation with South Korea, I think, is slotted under that second heading of economic development leading to prosperity.
While they are a tiny spec on the economic radar, given the goals North Korea's leadership has set itself, they seem to fulfill them one by one.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• They have a large military on paper. But leaked word shows NK has inadequate logistics to support their own army even at home. Soldiers have to work & barter on the side, or endure near-starvation rations. So it's an army on paper, one they could not sustain in the field.
The point for them is not to win a war, but to make that win very costly. That's what nuclear weapons are for.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Their nukes are an effort to become an important (influential) country. As they have none of the other qualities that make a country influential, I don't see that happening. At present, they can't even test any further. Having given themselves a hotfoot ruined their own test site.
At present they do not need to test any further, because they have made their point: they have working nuclear bombs. What would one more test accomplish?
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2018, 01:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Korea starting to pull some ****ery. Testing Trump's resolve, I imagine: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-k...ay-2018-05-15/
I think North Korea is setting expectations here: I don't think nuclear disarmament before anything else (removal of sanctions, etc.) was always misplaced and unrealistic. And the fact that the US has pulled out of the Iran deal also has had something to do with that. The first treaty would have always been an appetizer, removal of nuclear weapons the dessert.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2018, 07:20 PM
 
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2018, 08:36 PM
 
That's a slightly more realistic goal for the negotiations, although I would still argue that the best they can initially hope for is to stop an expansion of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 16, 2018, 10:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• They have a few nukes, with no delivery method. A rocket test with a dummy payload is far from a tested-and-working reentry module with reliable targeting.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's not correct: it is not clear whether they have working ICBMs with nuclear warheads yet, but they have had working medium range missiles for a decade now. If we assume that their nuclear ICMBs aren't operational yet, that puts you out of range, but I am squarely within range. As are parts of China, South Korea and so forth.
I'm certain they do not have working ICBMs. Any complex system has to be tested, and ICBMs involve the rocket, navigation, warhead, reentry, and triggering at the correct instant. All system have to work smoothly together, or the launch fails. NK has tested the rocket. Though with a dummy payload that may have only massed a few kilos.

All we know about navigation is they sailed rockets over Japan without landing in territorial waters. The navigation could have been perfect, or +/- 300 kilometers. The other systems are untested. Considering a successful launch requires zero failures, I'm comfortable with them not having ICBMs.

The question of medium-range missiles is trickier. From looking at Wikipedia's list of NK tests, it looks very much like a straight scale-up effort. NK claims one test was warhead-sized, but it appears to have been the biggest blast up to that date. Not a step down in size to meet rocket mass limits.

They do have medium-range rockets, and have tested them enough for navigation systems to become reliable. I'm not saying they are reliable, but it's plausible. I don't think they've mounted an almost-complete warhead on board to fine-tune the final targeting and detonation triggering. They'd need telemetry for that, or to retrieve the test warhead for analysis. It doesn't appear that telemetry or retrieval has happened on any missile test.

So if I had to bet, I'd bet they don't have working medium-range nuclear missiles either. Considering how many lives are at risk, I'd rather not take that bet. But complex systems have to be tested. If they aren't tested all the way through, they usually fail.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 02:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I'm certain they do not have working ICBMs. Any complex system has to be tested, and ICBMs involve the rocket, navigation, warhead, reentry, and triggering at the correct instant. All system have to work smoothly together, or the launch fails. NK has tested the rocket. Though with a dummy payload that may have only massed a few kilos.
How can you be certain of that? At best we do not know whether they have working ICBMs and with nuclear war heads. Ditto about accuracy: we have no idea of knowing how precise they are, only the North Korean regime knows. Do you want to roll the dice here by betting on the fact that they don't have working ICBMs? Especially when being wrong here would have such dire consequences? Even if the chances that an individual ICBM works are quite low, let's say 5 %, if they have 3 of them, then the probability of one of them working is already 14 %. Is that an acceptable risk? I don't think so.

The fact that they have tested all pieces individually makes it quite plausible. Also keep in mind that thanks to technological progress it becomes easier and easier to build nuclear weapons. This is 70+-year old technology at this point, and other non-first world countries have obtained them.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
All we know about navigation is they sailed rockets over Japan without landing in territorial waters. The navigation could have been perfect, or +/- 300 kilometers. The other systems are untested. Considering a successful launch requires zero failures, I'm comfortable with them not having ICBMs.
Geography is bliss — at least for you
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
They do have medium-range rockets, and have tested them enough for navigation systems to become reliable. I'm not saying they are reliable, but it's plausible. I don't think they've mounted an almost-complete warhead on board to fine-tune the final targeting and detonation triggering. They'd need telemetry for that, or to retrieve the test warhead for analysis. It doesn't appear that telemetry or retrieval has happened on any missile test.
Again, all of this seems to be based on “best case scenario” way of thinking, and this overly positive take is not merited when there is a realistic chance you are wrong. With medium range missiles, North Korea has had years and their efforts were based off of proven designs. We do not know whether they have miniaturized war heads, and if they have, how many of them have been mounted to missiles. We do not know how accurate they are, these are probably the most closely guarded North Korean state secrets. But if you want to hit large metropolitan areas, an accuracy of a few kilometers is probably enough (it won't matter for Tokyoans whether the epicenter is Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku or Roppongi).

But I find it weird that you attribute such a low probability to North Korea having launch-ready medium range missiles with a nuclear payload. (I think them having nuclearly armed ICBMs is much less probably, but there is a non-zero chance that they have some that are operational.) The West had done the same with China's nuclear program, they consistently underestimated their progress.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
So if I had to bet, I'd bet they don't have working medium-range nuclear missiles either. Considering how many lives are at risk, I'd rather not take that bet. But complex systems have to be tested. If they aren't tested all the way through, they usually fail.
You must distinguish between probabilities and expectation values: even if only 10 % of their missiles actually work, by current estimates that means you would still expect >3 missiles to hit their targets (according to Wikipedia best current estimates are that they have e. g. <50 operational Hwasong-10 missiles with a range of up to 4,000 km), and depending on the nuclear payload that could kill hundreds of thousands of people in the blink of an eye. And if we assume that they have 30 missiles, and each succeeds with a 10 % chance the probability that at least one of them will work is 100 % - 90 %^30 = 96 %.


Edit: Let me bracket my discussion, because I don't want to come across as combative for the sake of it. I think the prudent, indeed conservative stance is to start from the assumption that North Korea has at least limited nuclear capabilities. Emotional arguments such as belittling North Korea as insignificant are irrelevant. And IMHO it is pointless to enter talks where the expectations are so extremely divergent and, indeed, mutually exclusive. Trump should not expect North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal, simply because if you put yourself in Kim Jong-Un's shoes, you wouldn't either. Nor should Kim Jong-Un expect to get away Scott free.

Given North Korea's self-declared strategy — nuclear weapons first, economic development second — a reasonable goal is to trade limited trade (which implies lifting of certain sanctions) in exchange for North Korea not further expanding its nuclear arsenal. The difficult bit here IMHO is verification, which is absolutely essential given that North Korea hasn't kept its end of various agreements in the past. This is where Trump could use his self-professed Jedi master negotiation skills.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; May 17, 2018 at 03:36 AM. Reason: Added two paragraphs at the end.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 05:33 AM
 
No problems here - I'm interested in your thoughts. You're certainly closer. I'm not emotionally involved if that helps - feel free to tear up my analysis.

And I agree about the talks being pointless. I think Kim is pulling a classic bait-n-switch on Trump. Let Trump think he's getting everything. Then deny any major concessions on nukes. Then deny any promises about nukes. If Trump falls for it, he'll give Kim a summit meeting, with nothing promised at all. So Kim can start asking for things. In Trump's shoes, I'd walk away from the summit, and re-enter the Iran nuke deal.

Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
All we know about navigation is they sailed rockets over Japan without landing in territorial waters. The navigation could have been perfect, or +/- 300 kilometers. The other systems are untested. Considering a successful launch requires zero failures, I'm comfortable with them not having ICBMs.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Geography is bliss — at least for you
I'm not sure I follow. NK has not announced their target coordinates before any test. If they had, we'd know the accuracy. (Assuming NK did not lie.) In the absence of the intended targets, we have no way of knowing how near the rockets came. I assume they wanted badly to come down in international waters (so people would not shoot back), but see no way to constrain the real targets further. Some spies would help.

We also lack other critical info, as NK did not announce nuclear tests in advance. While there have been 6 explosions, the number of attempts may have been higher.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Emotional arguments such as belittling North Korea as insignificant are irrelevant.
Belittling (or under-assuming) NK performance is reasonable when supported by past actions. NK leadership has a track record of using photoshop skills to avoid mundane details. Even after being called on it multiple times by international media, the PS incidents continued. To avoid photo-ops for the great leader. A few hours drive to pose for pictures was too much. My impression is Kim prefers announcements while skipping the tedious details. And routinely uses lies to over-promise his capabilities.

Every country that can definitely deploy nuclear missiles has done so with full tests of the whole system. At high costs. Space launch rockets are elaborately tested - doubly so for satellites and interplanetary probes. All of the above still experience failures - weapons systems, launchers, satellites, and probes.

NK has demonstrated nuclear explosives, so they could deliver them via bombers. NK can launch missiles, with uncertain accuracy. Quite good for short-range, and perhaps decent for mid-range. Beyond those details, NK has concealed their error margins.

A nuclear missile launch is a complex system, where each component has to work correctly. Even a minor error in one subsystem can cause the explosion to be far off target, while most errors will cause complete failure. As I see it, to achieve even fair accuracy overall requires elaborate testing. To insure each individual system has failure rates below 1%. NK has skipped the integration testing. While it is possible they have achieved near-100% reliability in all subsystems, their record of skipping homework and concealing their error bars argues otherwise.

If even one significant flaw or incompatibility remains in their nuclear missile design, the success rate would be 0% regardless of how many missiles were launched. As the missile can be considered a serial system, requiring every link to work, even small quality issues will compound. Again resulting in very low overall success rates.

Perhaps I'm analyzing it overly optimistically. But nothing I've built has worked on the first try beyond "Hello World".
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 10:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
And I agree about the talks being pointless. I think Kim is pulling a classic bait-n-switch on Trump.
I wouldn't say they are pointless, because I think establishing a dialog is an important preliminary step before any serious talks. And North Korea is, I think, ready to talk because they want to go to the next stage and improve their economic situation. This could be (more likely: could have been) a chance to get things moving.

I also wouldn't place all the blame with Kim Jong-Un: Trump's decision to unilaterally leave the Iran deal and the interference run by John Bolton also soured the atmosphere.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Let Trump think he's getting everything. Then deny any major concessions on nukes. Then deny any promises about nukes. If Trump falls for it, he'll give Kim a summit meeting, with nothing promised at all. So Kim can start asking for things.
I think this is where all the difficulty lies: both sides have expressed mutually exclusive positions, and if you arrive at talks with these aims and neither side is willing to budge, talks are indeed pointless.

But rather than giving up on the talks as a whole, I'd still enter discussions with much more modest aims. There are a few things that I deem realistic: First and foremost, have an official armistice (technically, the Korean War is still ongoing). This costs neither side anything in terms of concessions and could be the beginning to start “official” relations — most notably between North and South Korea. The second realistic goal is for North Korea to end all further tests of ICBMs, missiles and nuclear bombs for a given time period, let's say five years. The goal is to improve relations a little and build trust. In return, the North start limited “trade” with the South, giving the South an option to give aid to the North.

Historically, the rapprochement of Western and Eastern Germany was absolutely crucial in the reunification of Germany and, by extension, the fall of the Iron Curtain as a whole. Over time, the East became dependent on money from Western Germany, which gave the Western German government limited leverage. E. g. they could buy the freedom of certain prisoners, pay for road construction projects (which put money in the purses of Eastern Germans), and eventually, they absolutely depended on these payments to make ends meet. I'm contrasting this to Reagan's arms race with the Soviet Union, that according to popular opinion in the US was the reason the USSR collapsed. I don't think this story is wrong per se, it is just very incomplete: without established political channels and leverage, I think the USSR would have lived a bit longer and its decay would probably have been more volatile.

Of course, Kim Jong-Un is not stupid, and the primary goal of all his machinations is for his dynasty to stay in power. So this period could take several decades until collapse.

The reason why this is unlikely is mentioned in your next sentence:
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
In Trump's shoes, I'd walk away from the summit, and re-enter the Iran nuke deal.
If Trump weren't Trump …

I am not exaggerating when I say that Trump has no clue what his long-term strategy is. This won't be something you fix in a “single deal” where the North Korean leadership recognizes the error of its ways, gives up nuclear weapons, holds peaceful, democratic elections where the people vote someone into power with a positive disposition to the United States who then proceed to unify with South Korea. Trump seems so blind to even the most obvious problems (and I mean obvious as in “should be obvious to the President of the United States”): what about Japan and the American bases there? What if Japan then aims to acquire nuclear weapons? (They have all the technologies in-house already.) What would then happen to the relation between Japan and South Korea? What about Japan and China, would China accept Japan becoming a nuclear power? And so forth.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I'm not sure I follow. NK has not announced their target coordinates before any test.
I was a bit tongue-in-cheek here about the fact that you are out of range of the (presumably much more reliable) intermediate range missiles whereas I am not, and that the operational status of North Korean ICBMs is unknown at present.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
If they had, we'd know the accuracy. (Assuming NK did not lie.) In the absence of the intended targets, we have no way of knowing how near the rockets came. I assume they wanted badly to come down in international waters (so people would not shoot back), but see no way to constrain the real targets further. Some spies would help.

We also lack other critical info, as NK did not announce nuclear tests in advance. While there have been 6 explosions, the number of attempts may have been higher.
You are right, we don't know these things and I am quite sure even the best intelligence works off of tiny fragments of information and (very) educated guesses. Nevertheless, I would argue that there is a very credible threat out there.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Belittling (or under-assuming) NK performance is reasonable when supported by past actions. NK leadership has a track record of using photoshop skills to avoid mundane details.
According to me at least, it achieves no end. It is very easy to watch a few minutes of State Propaganda TV and have a laugh, but this is, sadly, the reality the North Korean people live in.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Every country that can definitely deploy nuclear missiles has done so with full tests of the whole system. At high costs.
Honest question: Has Israel tested “the whole system”? To my knowledge they aren't confirming the existence of their nuclear arsenal yet even though it is the worst-kept secret ever. Has Pakistan tested the full enchilada? Or India? I am not aware of this, but I haven't researched this specifically.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
NK has demonstrated nuclear explosives, so they could deliver them via bombers. NK can launch missiles, with uncertain accuracy. Quite good for short-range, and perhaps decent for mid-range. Beyond those details, NK has concealed their error margins.
North Korea has based some of its missile designs off of proven technology where the West has good intel, so you can get a decent estimate on the accuracy.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
If even one significant flaw or incompatibility remains in their nuclear missile design, the success rate would be 0% regardless of how many missiles were launched. As the missile can be considered a serial system, requiring every link to work, even small quality issues will compound. Again resulting in very low overall success rates.
I understand your arguments and I am in agreement that this is a possibility — but only one of many. In the worst case, a sizable numbers of missiles or rockets are operational. The truth, I would expect, lies somewhere in between. And that makes them dangerous enough to take their nuclear threat seriously.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Perhaps I'm analyzing it overly optimistically. But nothing I've built has worked on the first try beyond "Hello World".
They have had multiple tests of intermediate range missiles, including a test maybe half a year ago where I got an alarm. I think at least with the intermediate range missiles, a lot of which are in part based off of Soviet technology from the 1960s–1980s. So we know that they are based off of proven designs that have been tested elsewhere. Of course, producing rockets is not as simple as copying blue prints, but it means that North Korea did not have to start from scratch. So I don't doubt they have some intermediate range missiles that are working — at least with a conventional payload.

ICBMs are an entirely different beast. Here, we only have a single data point (on the outside), but North Korea did manage to send a rocket far enough for experts to conclude that if that ICBM had been aimed in the right (or rather, wrong) direction, it could have reached the continental United States. Repeatability and accuracy are open questions. But at least they did prove that they can launch something with enough kinetic energy — which is worrying.

If these were conventional weapons, I wouldn't lose any sleep over them. Even if a 2,000 kg bomb hit a city and tragically killed many hundred people, that wouldn't be a big deal in the grand scheme of things. A successful nuclear attack on the other hand could have horrific consequences. So I don't think we can afford to be overly optimistic.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Honest question: Has Israel tested “the whole system”? To my knowledge they aren't confirming the existence of their nuclear arsenal yet even though it is the worst-kept secret ever. Has Pakistan tested the full enchilada? Or India? I am not aware of this, but I haven't researched this specifically.
Israel is an interesting question. I was thinking about it while replying. It appears Israel has snuck in a few tests (mostly with French help early on) and has likely done quite a few dry runs to test full-system integration. They also have proven experience with complex weapons development. I expect their missiles would work, though not at 100%. Israel might choose a bombing rather than risk a visible failure.

India and Pakistan might be progressing with warhead miniaturization and full-system missile tests, or may have satisfied things with having bombs. Their goals are to ward off attack from each other, or from China. Both have had less time than Israel to sweat the details.

All three have more resources to focus on development than NK. With far fewer sanctions getting in the way.
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 02:21 PM
 
I don’t think you can test the whole enchilada without nuking someone.

Israel can put satellites in orbit, which is code for enchilada.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 17, 2018, 08:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Israel is an interesting question. I was thinking about it while replying. It appears Israel has snuck in a few tests (mostly with French help early on) and has likely done quite a few dry runs to test full-system integration. They also have proven experience with complex weapons development. I expect their missiles would work, though not at 100%. Israel might choose a bombing rather than risk a visible failure.
I didn't mean to doubt Israeli's nuclear capabilities, they surely have all the tech and the means to keep their nuclear arms ready. But AFAIK only the “old” nuclear powers have tested everything extensively. Nuclear and other tests became increasingly (politically and practically) difficult to the degree they are no longer viable. France has had its last nuclear test in the 1990s (that's where the chant “Eff Chirac!” originates from, trust me, it rhymes).
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
India and Pakistan might be progressing with warhead miniaturization and full-system missile tests, or may have satisfied things with having bombs. Their goals are to ward off attack from each other, or from China. Both have had less time than Israel to sweat the details.
Yes, they have had less time, but we should not forget that things got progressively easier. Those super computers that were used to simulated nuclear bombs in the 1970s are literally less powerful than what you can wear on your wrist or put in your pocket. Metallurgy has made progress leaps and bounds. “Microprocessor technology” is something you can buy easily. With each passing year it becomes easier to do this because you are farther and farther away from cutting edge.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
All three have more resources to focus on development than NK. With far fewer sanctions getting in the way.
Yes, although North Korea has probably received help from the Pakistani and were able to scrounge up Soviet tech from the 1980s. The really difficult part was getting highly enriched uranium — there is no shortcut here.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 18, 2018, 08:37 PM
 
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/18/us-c...ts-report.html
A training exercise involving U.S. B-52 bombers flying alongside South Korean warplanes was canceled following threats that Pyongyang would withdraw from a highly anticipated summit with President Donald Trump next month, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. officials.

According to Friday's report, the officials said South Korea had asked to not participate in an air drill that also involved Japan and the U.S.

The White House referred CNBC's request for comment about the Journal report to the Pentagon, which said plans for a separate exercise is continuing as planned.

The news came a day after the Defense Department said the U.S. had no plans to scale back the exercises.
South Korea capitulating?
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 10:15 AM
 
Summit cancelled, which is the right call.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 10:40 AM
 
This is my surprised face...
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 11:05 AM
 
Also, people (Dems) taking a victory lap on this can **** off. It's neither good and there's a lot of time to get it back together. Have some perspective.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 11:13 AM
 
I never thought this thing was ever going to happen, but Pence and Bolton waving the "Lybia model" in Kim's face really didn't help things.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 11:16 AM
 
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 11:51 AM
 
That intern did a great job weaving flattery, manners, and general doublespeak along with a soupcon of threat.
     
Thorzdad
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Nobletucky
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 24, 2018, 12:04 PM
 
I'm loving the signature, myself. If you look at it as if it's a seismic trace, it's pretty illuminating.
     
 
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:15 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,