WITH Kim Jong-un restarting missile tests in recent weeks, an expert has warned a nuclear war between North Korea and the United States would result in the deaths 1.5 million people in just one day.
Daniel R DePetris also warned the so-called Hermit State would be effectively wiped off the map in any exchange between the two countries, with devastating consequences for the rest of the world. Mr DePetris, a fellow at US-based think tank Defense Priorities, made his remarks after Robert Carlin, a Nonresident Fellow at the Stimson Centre, suggested in a blog for the 38 North website that Kim was now “terrifying close” to developing devastatingly powerful long-range missiles equipped with thermonuclear warheads.
In an article for the National Interest website, Mr DePetris said: “In the crazy scenario whereby Kim Jong-un orders his nuclear forces to launch a nuclear-tipped ICBM towards an American city (one, by the way, that would rest on the supposition that Kim is a lunatic who believes Washington would back down after an attack), President Donald Trump wouldn’t hesitate to retaliate with the “fury and fury” of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
“Pyongyang, the capital city where millions live, would be the obvious target for a retaliatory nuclear strike.
“Kim Jong-un would likely be scurried away in a bunker somewhere with his sister and his senior generals long before Washington gave the order to the men and women who manage the US nuclear triad to execute a launch, but that wouldn’t really matter.
“The purpose of a US retaliatory attack would be to create so much destruction on North Korea’s military chain-of-command, its minuscule economy, its hereditary political system, and its physical existence as a nation that Kim Jong-un wouldn’t continue throwing nukes at the problem. Ideally, he wouldn’t have any more nukes to launch.”
Mr DePetris he had used a website called NukeMap, designed by Alex Wellerstein, to determine the extent of destruction in terms of human casualties in the United States targeted the North Korean capital with one 750-kiloton device (the largest nuclear device the United States possesses in its arsenal is the B83 with a 1.2 megaton yield).
He said the blast would more than 1.5 million people, almost six percent of the country’s total population of just over 25 million.
Taking UN population statistics into account (25.281 million), one 750-kiloton nuclear blast in downtown Pyongyang would wipe out nearly 6 percent of the North Korea’s total population.
Adding in estimated injuries in excess of 850,000 and the number of casualties in the first 24 hours rose to 2.3 million, Mr DePetris said.
He added: “As to which structures in Pyongyang would cease to exist and which would only suffer moderate damage, take a look at the map.
“The workers and visitors of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in northwest Pyongyang would have a 50 percent to 90 percent chance of dying within the first hours, days or weeks from the radiation exposure.
“The thermal radiation radius, the outer ring of the yield, where people would be dealing with third degree burns requiring possible amputations, would extend 11.1 kilometres in all directions.
“Pyongyang’s skyline wouldn’t really be a skyline anymore; all those fancy skyscrapers that Kim spent so much money on would be a wasted investment.
“Nobody wants to see such a man-made disaster occur.
“It would a terrible, terrible waste of human potential and a moral travesty.
“Any nuclear attack anywhere in the world would expose the hollow progress of human civilisation, that despite all of the technology and medical advancements made over centuries, humans in the 21st century are as primitive as cavemen.
“But North Korea should be under no illusions.
“If it were irrational enough to send a nuke towards an American city, then it better anticipate its demise as a nation.
“Donald Trump wouldn’t accept anything but forceful retaliation – no American president would.”
If it were irrational enough to send a nuke towards an American city, then it better anticipate its demise as a nation