Saturday, April 25, 2009

Would a Preemptory Attack on the Rodong Arsenal Work?

Keiichiro Asao, Defense Minister for the DPJ’s “Next Cabinet” appeared on TV Asahi today and said something eminently sensible: “If all the [200 give or take a few dozen] Rodong Missiles that North Korea has came flying at us, we wouldn’t be able to shoot them down all of them.” So true. I suppose that is what the U.S. nuclear umbrella is there for: to act as a deterrent so that the North Korean authorities don’t start thinking that they could use the threat of a nuclear attack to wrest some serious concessions from Japan (and a nuclear Japan does not become anything more than a conservative nationalists’ pipe dream.) But then Asao went on to say: “We shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, but unless we have the capacity to strike at the other side’s bases, we won’t be able to hedge the risk.”

Now Rodongs are land-mobile , which means that they could be stationed anywhere in North Korea. Given their use of liquid fuel, they could have fixed-location fueling stations that could be vulnerable to attack. But do the Japanese or, more likely U.S., authorities know where they are? If not, then Asao is really talking about a Japanese retaliatory capacity.


Dice said...

If North Korea were fueling [200 give or take a few dozen] Rodong missiles, then I would hope that the US would have the ability to detect that and share with the Japanese.

Is it sensible to think that Japan/US would be able to defend the country against however many missiles that North Korea can fuel without being detected?

Is US power only a deterrent to North Korea because they have nuclear capabilities?

Lots of questions, not much of a point. . .

Jun Okumura said...

Dice: From what little I’ve heard about intelligence on North Korean ballistic missile systems and North Korean military capabilities in general, I’m not sure the United States know where the bases are located. So my own answer to your last question is: Ultimately, yes—unfortunately. But I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise.