Some local experts called North Korea’s vow to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States “silly,” while others, including U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said the threat should be taken seriously.
“Their statements in context of their investment of nuclear weapons and technology clearly shows that they plan to put the United States at risk,” said Turner, who in the last congress was the chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which had oversight of our nuclear weapons, missile defense and certain space and intelligence programs.
Turner also tweeted from his Twitter account, “It’s time the Administration realizes threats from North Korea are real and they will not stop until they reach their goal of inflicting harm to the U.S.”
An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that North Korea will exercise its right for “a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors” because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the country.
Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for several crude nuclear devices.
Tony Hall, former U.S. Congressman from Dayton, called the nuclear threats of North’s leader Kim Jong-un, “absolutely off the wall and just rather silly,” and said, “This tirade is going to bring the condemnation of the whole world down on him.”
Hall, the executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger, said North Korea does not have the ability to launch any long-term nuclear devices. “I don’t think they have the capabilities to deliver anything like that to the United States,” he said.
Hall has been on seven humanitarian-related trips to North Korea and said he believes Kim Jong-un should focus on the welfare of his people, who Hall said are dying of starvation.
Donna Schlagheck, a Wright State University professor who teaches U.S. Foreign Policy and a course on the United Nations, called the situation “a fabricated pseudo threat from a young man who wants to portray a tough image to the world.”
“I think he is trying to secure his place and relationship with the North Korean military establishment,” Schlagheck said of Kim Jong-un. “It’s almost predictable, over-the-top and rash verbal behavior, which may very well be followed by a new overture to South Korea for peace talks. First, you show them what a tough guy you are and then you talk peace.”
Even though Schlagheck said she doesn’t believe that North Korea could deliver a missile to U.S. soil, the nuclear testing and threats should be taken seriously.
“Certainily they could against South Korea,” Schlagheck said. “We’re talking 30,000 plus (American) troops in South Korea. I doubt they could deliver a missile to U.S. soil… They don’t have the accuracy. But, they could kill Americans in South Korea and Japan.”
Mark Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University, said North Korea could harm millions without sending a missle in the air.
“North Korea does have enough material to manufacture devices that, if smuggled into the country, could do significant damage,” he said. “Given China’s recent cooperation and leadership on sanctions directed at North Koreans, there is growing evidence that the regime’s instability is a potential threat to the entire region. The diplomatic goal, then, would be to limit North Korea’s capabilities going forward.”
Amaha Silase, a sociology and community development major at Wright State University, said he doesn’t feel that North Korea will attack anyone due to its relationship with China.
“I do not feel that violence can achieve sustainable peace,” he said. “I hope there can be some sort of sustained dialogue that can emerge toward a mutual understanding amongst the parties involved, as a way to move humanity forward.”