One Weapon, Two Approaches: The Nuclear Rhetorics of North Korea and Russia

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One weapon, two approaches: the nuclear rhetoric of North Korea and Russia

North Korea and Russia have two visions for the use of their nuclear weapons. North Korea says it could use it if necessary, while Russia plays the deterrence card.

Since World War II, no country has used a nuclear weapon. But recent statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin on a possible use of this type of weapon and the posture adopted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un raise fears of a dangerous escalation. The two countries have different approaches to their nuclear deterrent, but experts disagree on whether such an attack is possible or when it might occur.

If a nuclear test by North Korea in the coming weeks would be a game-changer in the region and prompt a response from the United States, senior officials from the U.S. Asia-Pacific Command said Friday in Honolulu. .

A North Korean nuclear test is even likely after the next Chinese Communist Party congress, which begins on October 16, according to an Indo-Pacific Command (IndoPacom) official who requested anonymity. North Korea has conducted four ballistic missile tests in a week, but this would be its first nuclear test since 2017.

I think the possibility of a test is more likely a week or two after the Chinese Communist Party congress, he said.

This estimate is similar to that of the South Korean intelligence services, which believe that a nuclear test would take place before the midterm elections in the United States on November 7, and that if it does take place, it would be a very serious concern, thinks the chief of the American fleet in the region, Admiral Sam Paparo. He stressed, however, that no link has been established between recent ballistic tests carried out by Pyongyang and a possible nuclear test. But there would be an answer, he agreed.

Not so long ago, North Korea paraded its intercontinental missiles capable of sending a nuclear charge to the American capital.

This response would be made in close consultation with our South Korean ally and would be consistent with our integrated deterrence doctrine: it would incorporate all instruments of US power, diplomatic, military and economic, Admiral Paparo insisted.

What worries the chief of the air force in the region, General Ken Wilsbach, is that North Korea does not see nuclear weapons as a deterrent tool intended to never be used, and that is all the more worrying.

They threatened to use these weapons against their neighbors and even the United States. And that's unusual, General Wilsbach pointed out. Other countries that have these weapons don't talk like that and that should worry everyone, he added. I think that would worry even China and Russia. However, Pyongyang adopted in early September a new doctrine that it would never give up nuclear weapons.

In the face of North Korea's rhetoric, Washington and Seoul resumed their joint military exercises. US Vice President Kamala Harris also traveled to South Korea this week to reiterate the United States' unwavering commitment to its ally, and visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

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Russian officers remove the camouflage cover from a “Topol-12M” mobile nuclear missile in the early 2000s.

In contrast, if Russia has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine, it might want to know, experts think. And the preparations that would precede the attack would be detected, warns the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thus threatened to use all means to defend the territorial integrity of Russia, which has led to speculation about the risks of a nuclear conflict.

But in the immediate future, military analyzes put this risk into perspective. Western intelligence services are monitoring the situation closely, but have detected no real threat. As for the White House, it says it has no indication of the preparation of a nuclear attack from Russia.

And if such an attack did occur, the range of that attack would be reduced – likely launched on a short-range Iskander ballistic missile.

In this photo, taken from a video provided by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry, Iskander missile launcher tanks and support vehicles are deployed for exercises, January 25, 2022.

Nuclear storage sites in Russia – numbering 47 according to a 2017 report – are constantly monitored by intelligence and military surveillance satellites from the United States and other countries, and even by commercial satellites – like the North Korean installations, whose activities are scrutinized and regularly updated.

Experts do not believe, however, that Russia would use strategic nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine. But there are still around 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons in Russia.

They may also be stored in hidden facilities, but this is unlikely, believes Pavel Podvig, a researcher at the x27;United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva.

Technically, you could probably smuggle a few bombs out of a storage site undetected, Podvig notes. But it also carries risks, including those of a preemptive attack from the West.

“The Russians will never be sure that this will not be detected. It would be a bet.

— Pavel Podvig, researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

Above all, says Mr. Podvig, Russia is more likely to want the West to see its preparations, as a warning. It would be a sort of escalating step forward [and] Russia would like it to be visible, he points out.

The United States warned its allies several weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. But would Washington do the same if it detected preparations for a nuclear attack, at the risk of causing unprecedented panic?

Washington could also alert others powers like China and India, which could increase the pressure on Russia to back down from its intentions.

Placed in a similar strategic situation, North Korea seems impervious to international warnings and sanctions on the nuclear issue, while international pressure could have a deterrent effect on Russia.

With information from Agence France-Presse

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One Weapon, Two Approaches: The Nuclear Rhetorics of North Korea and Russia

Spread the love

One weapon, two approaches: the nuclear rhetoric of North Korea and Russia

North Korea and Russia have two visions for the use of their nuclear weapons. North Korea says it could use it if necessary, while Russia plays the deterrence card.

Since World War II, no country has used a nuclear weapon. But recent statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin on a possible use of this type of weapon and the posture adopted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un raise fears of a dangerous escalation. The two countries have different approaches to their nuclear deterrent, but experts disagree on whether such an attack is possible or when it might occur.

If a nuclear test by North Korea in the coming weeks would be a game-changer in the region and prompt a response from the United States, senior officials from the U.S. Asia-Pacific Command said Friday in Honolulu. .

A North Korean nuclear test is even likely after the next Chinese Communist Party congress, which begins on October 16, according to an Indo-Pacific Command (IndoPacom) official who requested anonymity. North Korea has conducted four ballistic missile tests in a week, but this would be its first nuclear test since 2017.

I think the possibility of a test is more likely a week or two after the Chinese Communist Party congress, he said.

This estimate is similar to that of the South Korean intelligence services, which believe that a nuclear test would take place before the midterm elections in the United States on November 7, and that if it does take place, it would be a very serious concern, thinks the chief of the American fleet in the region, Admiral Sam Paparo. He stressed, however, that no link has been established between recent ballistic tests carried out by Pyongyang and a possible nuclear test. But there would be an answer, he agreed.

Not so long ago, North Korea paraded its intercontinental missiles capable of sending a nuclear charge to the American capital.

This response would be made in close consultation with our South Korean ally and would be consistent with our integrated deterrence doctrine: it would incorporate all instruments of US power, diplomatic, military and economic, Admiral Paparo insisted.

What worries the chief of the air force in the region, General Ken Wilsbach, is that North Korea does not see nuclear weapons as a deterrent tool intended to never be used, and that is all the more worrying.

They threatened to use these weapons against their neighbors and even the United States. And that's unusual, General Wilsbach pointed out. Other countries that have these weapons don't talk like that and that should worry everyone, he added. I think that would worry even China and Russia. However, Pyongyang adopted in early September a new doctrine that it would never give up nuclear weapons.

In the face of North Korea's rhetoric, Washington and Seoul resumed their joint military exercises. US Vice President Kamala Harris also traveled to South Korea this week to reiterate the United States' unwavering commitment to its ally, and visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

>

Russian officers remove the camouflage cover from a “Topol-12M” mobile nuclear missile in the early 2000s.

In contrast, if Russia has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine, it might want to know, experts think. And the preparations that would precede the attack would be detected, warns the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thus threatened to use all means to defend the territorial integrity of Russia, which has led to speculation about the risks of a nuclear conflict.

But in the immediate future, military analyzes put this risk into perspective. Western intelligence services are monitoring the situation closely, but have detected no real threat. As for the White House, it says it has no indication of the preparation of a nuclear attack from Russia.

And if such an attack did occur, the range of that attack would be reduced – likely launched on a short-range Iskander ballistic missile.

In this photo, taken from a video provided by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry, Iskander missile launcher tanks and support vehicles are deployed for exercises, January 25, 2022.

Nuclear storage sites in Russia – numbering 47 according to a 2017 report – are constantly monitored by intelligence and military surveillance satellites from the United States and other countries, and even by commercial satellites – like the North Korean installations, whose activities are scrutinized and regularly updated.

Experts do not believe, however, that Russia would use strategic nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine. But there are still around 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons in Russia.

They may also be stored in hidden facilities, but this is unlikely, believes Pavel Podvig, a researcher at the x27;United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva.

Technically, you could probably smuggle a few bombs out of a storage site undetected, Podvig notes. But it also carries risks, including those of a preemptive attack from the West.

“The Russians will never be sure that this will not be detected. It would be a bet. »

— Pavel Podvig, researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)

Above all, says Mr. Podvig, Russia is more likely to want the West to see its preparations, as a warning. It would be a sort of escalating step forward [and] Russia would like it to be visible, he points out.

The United States warned its allies several weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. But would Washington do the same if it detected preparations for a nuclear attack, at the risk of causing unprecedented panic?

Washington could also alert others powers like China and India, which could increase the pressure on Russia to back down from its intentions.

Placed in a similar strategic situation, North Korea seems impervious to international warnings and sanctions on the nuclear issue, while international pressure could have a deterrent effect on Russia.

With information from Agence France-Presse

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