After all, it has been well-established that North Korean [DPRK] missiles can’t make it to the America — and we’ve learned over the years to ignore the crazy threats from the hermit kingdom.
But Kim’s photo op may have been a hit with its real target: his own people.
Most DPRK experts seem to have come to this conclusion, including John Swenson-Wright, senior lecturer in East Asian International Relations at the University of Cambridge, in an interview with James Pearson of NK News.
“It seems reasonable to suppose that the target map is designed for home consumption and to create an impression of war-readiness for DPRK-citizens that is part of a wider policy of strengthening national resolve,” says Swenson-Wright.
Consider also how the images were released in “widely distributed” and publicly displayed domestic workers newspapers.
Kim “needs to show he has the guts. The best way to do that is to use the military might that he commands,” Lee Yoon-gyu, a North Korea expert at Korea National defence University in Seoul told the BBC. “This paves the way for greater praise for him if North Korea makes a provocation later and claims victory.”
Lee continued by saying that eventually Kim will have to perform a more provocative action in order to “make good on his threat” and retain credibility, so a tactical strike — a “skirmish” — is still a possibility.
Though all threats of preemptive nuclear strikes should be taken seriously, analysts say it’s unlikely because it would effectively mean “suicide.”
And lest there be any doubt that this was a photo op, the AP analysed the photo and concluded that it was likely doctored.
Certainly this doctoring isn’t for America’s benefit, because the idea of North Korea reaching middle America (#whyaustin) with a missile is laughable.
“All the available technical evidence suggests that the North’s claims to be able to hit (let alone target precisely) geographical sites in the United States are highly implausible,” said Swenson-Wright.
The BBC backed up this assertion more than three months ago when researchers released an analysis of North Korea’s most powerful missile, the Unha-3:
[Experts] acknowledge that there’s no evidence that the North has the guidance systems or re-entry capability needed to mount an actual strike … many more rocket and nuclear tests will be needed before North Korea can make a warhead small enough to fit its rockets and claim a credible nuclear delivery system.
While the West isn’t scared, however, it’s likely that the people of North Korea have no idea about doctored images or true missile capabilities.
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