Over 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 directly, the 800 kilometres it traveled 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 now have the ability to strike the North American mainland. This is almost definitely not true, but such a claim shouldn’t be laughed off.
There’s been a knee-jerk reaction on the part of many observers here in North America to downplay the significance of North Korea’s forays into nuclear tests.
Because some of the tests fails or significantly under-perform, people take to writing them off. But North Korea is advancing three steps forward, two steps back. They are making progress, slowly inching towards 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,” the PM told media last month.
Seismic readings confirm that the rogue state’s underground nuclear detonations have been gaining in kiloton yield over 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 then traveled 787 kilometres in the direction of Russia.
This is bad news for everyone. If they strike the U.S. base, whether intentionally or by accident, it would mean war. If it strikes anything, for that matter, a firm response would have to occur. Something like that can’t go unpunished.
Whatever response happens to North Korean aggression, Canada will play some role. We currently have a slim five Canadian Forces members stationed along the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea.
If and when things heat up, the DMZ will be the key hot spot. Canadian diplomats previously told me 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 a part of the conversation, no matter how small, means we will be involved when trouble goes down.
Canadians have to prepare for the fact that the United States could ask us to contribute more, however small the effort. We should make a non-partisan show of rising to the occasion.
This latest launch was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, 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 clearly meant to send a message to the world either that they had them already – which is highly 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 that is already in orbit and routinely passes over key targets.
This would, as I explain in my forthcoming book Pulse Attack, 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.