Things seemingly can’t get much tenser on the Korean peninsula than they already are, but new North Korean threats of an imminent missile launch have placed neighbors in the region further on edge.
The missile, assuming it launches — and assuming it works as planned — would have a range of over 2,000 miles and place the US island of Guam within striking distance.
North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a non-military organization that handles relations with South Korea, said it has “powerful striking means” that have been “put on standby for a launch and the coordinates of targets put into the warheads,” according to the Associated Press. Such threats sound intimidating, but they are easy threats to make.
The North and South Korean capitols of Pyongyang and Seoul are little more than 100 miles apart. At that distance, North Korea’s expected missile launch can fail, even fail spectacularly, and still prove to be a threat to all of South Korea. North Korea already has missiles that can rain fire down upon South Korea’s capitol, one of the largest cities in the world.
Regardless of how far North Korea’s missiles can reach, the world has amble reason to take the country seriously. Even if the country is not a direct threat to the US mainland, even if it were to prove unable to strike Japan, it could easily devastate its neighbor occupying the lower half of the Korean peninsula.
Seoul is home to over 10 million people and such internationally known brands as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia. One of the world’s most prominent cities is mere miles from a border shared with the most reclusive country in the world.
A North Korea that could destroy Seoul with a missile launch — even if it could not threaten anyone else directly — is powerful enough to deal the world a crippling blow.