Canada should be wary of North Korean threat

The Daily Observer - - OPINION - AN­THONY FUREY afurey@postmedia.com

Dur­ing the week­end, North Korea con­ducted its most suc­cess­ful mis­sile test to date.

This is a threat not just to the re­gion and the United States, but Canada as well.

While the Hwa­song-12 mis­sile that was launched Sun­day didn’t have the range to strike North Amer­ica, the 800 kilo­me­tres it trav­elled east­ward would be enough to strike the U.S. An­der­son Air Force on the Pa­cific is­land of Guam.

Plus, a North Korean an­nounce­ment threat­ened that they have the abil­ity to strike the North Amer­i­can main­land. This al­most def­i­nitely is not true, but such a claim shouldn’t be laughed off.

There’s been a knee-jerk re­ac­tion to down­play the sig­nif­i­cance of North Korea’s for­ays into nuclear tests.

Be­cause some of the tests fail or sig­nif­i­cantly un­der-per­form, peo­ple write them off. But North Korea is ad­vanc­ing three steps for­ward, two steps back. They are mak­ing progress, slowly inch­ing to­ward their goals.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau ap­pears to be keep­ing an eye on the sit­u­a­tion.

“We are wor­ried about the dan­ger­ous and un­sta­ble North Korean regime, pe­riod,” Trudeau said last month.

Seis­mic read­ings con­firm the rogue state’s un­der­ground nuclear det­o­na­tions have been gain­ing in kilo­ton yield dur­ing the years. They’ve also been hap­pen­ing at an in­creas­ing pace.

And now this news, that they can get a ma­jor mis­sile up and over in the di­rec­tion of a tar­get.

The North Korean state news agency said the mis­sile made it to an im­pres­sive al­ti­tude of 2,111.5 kilo­me­tres. It trav­elled 787 kilo­me­tres in the di­rec­tion of Rus­sia.

If they strike the U.S. base, whether in­ten­tion­ally or by ac­ci­dent, it would mean war. If it strikes any­thing, for that mat­ter, a re­sponse would have to oc­cur. Some­thing like that can’t go un­pun­ished.

What­ever the re­sponse to North Korean ag­gres­sion, Canada will play some role. We have five Cana­dian Forces mem­bers sta­tioned along the de­mil­i­ta­rized zone (DMZ) sep­a­rat­ing North Korea from South Korea.

If and when things heat up, the DMZ will be the key hot spot. Cana­dian diplo­mats pre­vi­ously said they sus­pect we’ll be asked to per­form sup­port du­ties rather than bol­ster the DMZ pres­ence. But the sim­ple fact we are in­volved there in the first place, have a his­tory there and are part of the con­ver­sa­tion, no mat­ter how small, means we will be in­volved when trou­ble goes down.

Cana­di­ans have to pre­pare for the fact the United States could ask us to con­trib­ute more. We should make a non-par­ti­san show of ris­ing to the oc­ca­sion.

This lat­est North Korean launch was not an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile (ICBM), which is the sort needed to strike Wash­ing­ton, New York City, Toronto or Ot­tawa. But they’re head­ing in that di­rec­tion with mis­siles of in­creas­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

A re­cent mil­i­tary pa­rade showed they were in pos­ses­sion of ICBM can­is­ters. This was meant to send a mes­sage that they had them al­ready — which is doubt­ful — or that they’re work­ing to ac­quire them – which is without doubt.

Kim Jong-Un also may at­tempt an elec­tro­mag­netic pulse attack over North Amer­ica. This could be done by det­o­nat­ing a nuclear weapon from a North Korean satellite al­ready in or­bit that rou­tinely passes over key tar­gets.

This would take down the elec­tri­cal grid both in the U.S. and in Canada and po­ten­tially cause widespread so­ci­etal col­lapse.

There are a lot of un­knowns con­cern­ing the her­mit kingdom’s cur­rent abil­i­ties.

What we do know though is enough that Canada should be­ware.

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