Schwartz: We’ve Got Plenty of Firepower to Deter N. Korea

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz weighed in on the situation on the Korean Peninsula this morning, telling reporters that while American fighter jets remain on their normal alert status, the U.S. has plenty of firepower in the region in case North Korea gets even more trigger happy.

“Clearly, we have substantial Air Force assets in a number of locations in the Western Pacific both on the Korean Peninsula at Osan and Kunsan as well as at Kadena [Japan] and mainland Japan and further east in Guam,” said Schwartz. “Those assets are certainly ready and the commander of Pacific Command, [Adm.] Bob Willard, and Gen. Skip Sharp [commander of all forces in South Korea] are prepared to use those assets if they’re required.”

He went on to say that while the U.S. is ready to respond, the situation is currently under the control of the South Korean air force.

“I think it’s significant that it’s the [South Korean air force] that’s principally in the lead as we speak with as many as eight F-15s flying [combat air patrols] at the moment.”

He then described this morning’s artillery exchange as the most recent in a number of “provocations” from North Korea.

“The bottom line is, we have substantial capability on the peninsula and in the immediate environments to sustain a very credible deterrent posture,” said the general when asked his thoughts on basing tactical nuclear warheads in South Korea.

Schwartz then said he would prefer to give his advice on the nuclear issue to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than the press before adding, “there is no question that there is a very substantial air power and joint team capability in the Western Pacific that, certainly, the North Koreans must respect.”

All this comes after North and South Korea spent the morning lobbing dozens of artillery shells at one another killing at least two South Korean marines and wounding 18 more people. The exchange took place between a South Korean island and the North’s mainland close to where a South Korean navy ship, the Cheonan, was sunk in March, according to the New York Times.  In contrast to Schwartz’s statements, the Times reports that South Korean fighter jets were placed on alert but did not fly.  

The situation there remains tense with the thousands of old soviet artillery tubes in the North pretargeted on installations throughout the south. Needless to say, any conflict would get very nasty if it escalated out of control. The U.S. has several squadrons of F-16s, A-10s at Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in south Korea and the U.S. army has close to 20,000 troops scattered around the country. These U.S. units along with the South Korean military can hopefully stave off the North long enough for reinforcements to arrive from nearby bases in Asia.  

From the Korea Times:

The North fired shells from bases in Gaemeori and Mudo, 12 to 13 kilometers from Yeonpyeong.

The North Korean army is believed to have about eight 27-kilometer-range 130mm howitzers and eight 76 guns with a range of 12 kilometers.

By number, the North is said to have deployed about 1,000 artillery pieces on islands near the NLL. Most are known to be hidden in mountain caves and tunnels.

Yeonpyeong Island lies only about 12 kilometers from the North Korean mainland.

The South Korean military responded with the advanced K9 self-propelled howitzer. The K9 carries a 155mm/.52 caliber gun with a maximum firing range of 40 kilometers.

A JCS official said the number of North Korean casualties had not been confirmed but the damage to the North would be serious in consideration of K9’s much better capability.

  • arty

    Even if NK artillery is hidden in caves, wouldn’t a counter artillery barrage cause the cave entrances to collapse and “kill” the NK gun emplacements?

    • blight

      Wasn’t quite true at Dien Bien Phu…?

      That also assumes your counterbattery is pinpoint accurate to collapse the caves. Counterbattery in the open against unlimbered towed artillery is usually quite devastating because the crews are totally unprotected and vulnerable to shrapnel, so you don’t need direct hits. If they’re in mountains, then they’re safe from shrapnel and require direct hits. Alternatively, if your “hidden” artillery has multiple firing positions and can switch between them rapidly, the loss of one firing position won’t do much to stop the gun from firing.

      Someone tell me why Seoul was picked as the capital instead of say, Pusan. It seems stupid to have your largest city in artillery range of a mortal enemy.

      Maybe if we send the South Koreans some stealth UAVs along with precision-guided MLRS, or a large pile of Excalibur rounds.

      • Jacob

        Seoul was the traditional capital of Korea or something back in the day, so that’s probably why it was chosen. But you’re right, I think they should have ditched Seoul just like the West Germans moved their capital from Berlin to Bonn.

        There was however a recent proposal to move the capital further south to a city called Gongju but I think that idea got shot down. And it wouldn’t help the population that’s already living in Seoul who aren’t going anywhere soon, or the economic infrastructure that’s rooted in Seoul.

        • arty

          Actually they have tried a few times in the past to move the capital to Daejeon, which is in central S.Korea. I believe they succeeded in moving a good number of federal govt offices there, but most of the fed govt has stayed in Seoul.

        • blight

          Jacob: I thought Kaesong was the traditional capital, and was the reason why the South Koreans tried for a final push to secure the place before the Armistice. Then again, the Choson capital was Pyongyang…whatever. Anyways…

          Seoul is a commercial hub, but I thought heavy industry wasn’t focused around it? My primary concern is that if the war comes to reserves mobilization, most of the population is in Seoul, and logically if the South Korean military keeps its equipment close to its capital, should it fall early it would be a potential windfall to temporarily rearm North Korean forces.

      • arty

        Good point, thanks for the info. I’ve also heard that NKoreans were the ones that trained the Viet Cong in the digging tunnels and underground facilities that gave us such a headache.

        • blight

          If you read Street Without Joy, it implies that much of what the VC learned was probably at the hands of the Chinese. Then again, it’s always possible that China trained personnel from both nations.

      • Musson

        Forget pin point accuracy and just FIRE FOR EFFECT.

        • blight

          Then you’re trying to hit fish in a barrel from six miles away. Fire for effect is ineffective against dug in targets, especially when you cannot adjust fires. Counterbattery radar may be helpful in getting a fix, but won’t allow you to adjust, or tell you if you’ve eliminated the target.

          Or, if they used SPGs, they would shoot and scoot and be gone before you could get in a shot, and fire for effect wouldn’t have much effect. This is enhanced by the fact that there was a delay in returning fire, which is enough to hide a gun or displace a SPG.

        • blight

          Also: CEP for 155mm shells is given as ~200 meters from the /39 cal Paladin, meaning half of rounds fired will land in a circle of radius 200m. For the /56 cal Crusader, CEP is ~80m. No data on the ROK K9

  • John moore

    Sk is one weak ass pansy wont do anything even after there shipo is sunk islands bombed frig.

    So what they want the USA to deal with it but they wont?

    Give me a break hear if NK can get away with it every single time then why should I care anymore, If it was Iran or aznyone around Israel you think they would still be talking about it?

    SK u wusses!

  • John moore

    So why do we have to pay for Isreal to develope the artilery shield when SK seems the logic partner who is actuall in need of something simular.

    Just tired of USA having to hold everyones hand when we can’t apy our own bills

    • Belesari

      We could if Social program after social program didnt get added on and consume 80% or more of our budget.


      Two different problems. Israel’s missile shield is to defend against scuds and other missiles. SK problem isnt so much missiles as Artillery. I think i heard somewhere around 7,000 or so arty tubes. And other than Phalanx II i cant think of what else can take em out and that would require hundreds if not more of them and millions upon millions of rounds.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Because then the U.S. will have access to the missile shield (THEL, Davids Sling, Iron Dome, Arrow) and be able to deploy them where needed.

  • praetorian

    All you Americans Cmon. China should step up, and be a super power like it wants to be
    and do something. But…….. no. It seems China is useing thier pawn here. They have the power to stop this, but do nothing. No leadership in China with the balls or what ?
    China has a agenda, I just dont know what yet. As for being gung-ho, well I dont want to be in three wars. If NK wants a war, like the general said we have enough firepower there.
    not to mention a carrier group.

  • blight

    John moore: The “artillery shield” was intended for missiles and not for shells in ballistic trajectory. Missile v missile is barely economical, but missiles against shells which can be lobbed by the barrage and the metric ton will bleed you dry of missiles.

    Paul: I’m not sure if the KPA is using SPG’s, but it’s always possible. The common consensus is that they hide their artillery in caves/hills for overhead protection and concealment. SPG’s are somewhat vulnerable to counterbattery attack, as it’s generally implied they have shoot and scoot ability.

    If the KPA was in SPG’s, moved into position, fired a few rounds and scooted away then all the ROK artillery in the world wouldn’t do anything.

    Artillery, hidden and emplaced is one of the cheapest, most effective weapons when your neighbor next door has a great deal of static positions that cannot escape your fire, and especially if you have the hold the line to protect your capital/major population hub. If the KPA had excellent surveillance (or google maps) it might give them an idea of what is worth hitting.

    The North Koreans would probably extract a very favorable kill ratio out of civilians in a future Korean War. That island they hit wasn’t particularly far for an artillery piece.

  • Belesari

    The real and only reason North korea wasnt taken care of id to the north china.

    Just like the Idea you could give the Nazies what they wanted and keep peace you cant keep the NORKS at peace forever. They have been taught like children to act up when they want something.

    One day we will turn on the TV’s to a mushroom cloud over seoul. Its like a boulder pushed up a hill to keep it from hitting a dam. Eventually you will stumble nature will have its way and you have only made things worse.

    BTW how do you know all those people are americans? And sense being gunho-ho helped get us to being a super power greater than any other in history…

    • Mufasa

      I wish Americans were gung-ho about critical thinking or sober analysis or good posting. I guess we’ll have to make do with our zeal for military fetishism and lurid war fantasies.

      • Belesari

        /Rolls eyes.

        Whatever go find simba

        • Suttton Hoods

          OK, Toby Keith, go find a NASCAR rally and watch Glenn Beck cry at his black board.

  • Hopefully NK doesn’t throw another temper tantrum until a few years from now when I’m of age to enlist.

    Cause I want to “pacify” this whiny baby we call North Korea really bad.

    • Colonel Compiler

      OORAH…I feel so safe when naive 15 year olds can’t wait to die in a hellish land war in Asia. Just think of all the achievements you’ll earn to inflate your gamerscore.

      • elgatoso

        You are right!

  • 46 South Korean sailors died with the March sinking of the Cheonan, and there have been two other NK artillery bombardments against the south already this year – in January and again last month.

    The military responses so far have been fairly limited. Perhaps SK needs to begin stepping up its level of response to this kind of action if it hopes to deter further attacks.

    I’m not suggesting a protracted campaign -that could easily escalate things- but something more should be done to stop NK doing this every time they’ve got a gripe about something.

  • Kep

    read “my north korea vacation”

  • blight

    Google Maps might give more away…but even then those maps are out of date. Simply saying “we have A-10s nearby” isn’t going to give the DPRK much reliable intel, at least nothing they couldn’t gather with informants.

  • ServingTeaInCombatBoots

    Local press are saying that KPA targeted a ROKMC artillery unit. Two K-9s were damaged – one real lucky one took a direct hit with a dud and another had it’s fire control system damaged. The most recent reports indicate about 100 rounds fired by KPA, with 20 of the 100 landing in water. I would like to know whether the K-9s did shoot and scoot. But given the small size of the island and vicinity to KPA, I would think that the KPA already has the alternate sites mapped out. Supposedly it took 14 minutes for the ROKMC to launch counterbattery fire due to the wait in getting permission from higher ups. I would make an educated guess that it may take less than five minutes to roll back I’m a gun into it’s tunnel.

    One of the two Kia is a SGT conscript who was on the dock waiting for the ferry so he can go on his 2 wk furlough, as he was to be discharged next month. When the shells landed, he rushed back to camp where he was mortally wounded.

    • blight

      That sucks to hear for the conscript. Heading back to camp is absolutely commendable, he did not shirk his duty. I guess it’s that kind of thing that marked the ROKMC as the badasses in Vietnam.

      I cannot imagine they did not have quicker command and control in light of the Cheonan’s sinking. In their defense it was a remote island and they didn’t want to provoke the North Koreans. I am sure if they hit the DMZ there wouldn’t be a wait in authorization.

      I’m a little concerned that the DPRK seems to be engaged in Cold War era brinksmanship just to say that the South Koreans escalated into war first. Technically though, the 1953 ceasefire should be considered broken; but we are far from resuming hostilities.

      Maybe an Operation Desert Fox operation should be authorized to pelt them into obedience. Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan received the Tomahawk treatment after provocations, after all. I’d say they’re getting off lightly in comparison.

      • crackedlenses

        NK has nukes, and have not been known for being sane and reasonable; if we drop Tomohawks on them, I’d bet that they would respond with everything they’ve got. They don’t care what happens to their civies, and have been posturing for years now. If we shoot back, we need to be ready for WW3…..

        • blight

          Their nukes fizzled, but even a fizzled nuke is more powerful than a SCUD. A conventional SSM bombardment might make a bad day for the South Koreans, which is why South Korea is trying not to escalate beyond fire with fire.

        • Rick W.

          And to do nothing invites more hostility at which point S. Korea will have enough and nobody will be able to stop WW3.

          • crackedlenses

            If we respond, we need to shoot to kill; just dropping some missles on them will only provoke them……

          • blight

            Dropping missiles is shooting to kill. You suggest meeting a matchstick with a Molotov cocktail.

            I trust the South Koreans to defend their country. Their army is reliable and proven; though I am concerned that the reserve system may not properly activate in a surprise attack.

            The North truly gains very little from shelling the south, which is the source of needed industrial revenues and foodstuffs. They didn’t do crap for the previous head of South Korea, which is why the new guy reversed the sunshine policies. They’re going to learn the price of being pigheaded.

            The United States still needs China’s help in isolating the regime. During Bush II there was collaboration in shutting down their counterfeiting operations to cramp their style, and that’s what we need to preserve. What we do need to do is make North Korea look like something that they must wash their hands of. It won’t happen, because North Korea is a hermit state that stays quiet and is thus quietly allowed to putter on…

      • All marines in ROKMC are volunteers, not conscripts. ROKMC gets to pick 1 out of 3 or 4 that volunteer. And the KIA were not SGT but lower ranks (which makes their act of running back to barracks even more impressive) but they were promoted posthumously.

        The seemingly weak response by ROK was partly because the ROKMC on the 5 islands are equipped for repelling possible invasion by DPRK. Hence only the K9 SPH are able to reach out to DPRK’s mainland. And UN regulation states ROK can same type of weapon to respond to DPRK’s provocations. Hence no F15 was used to bomb DPRK artillery sites but only artillery of ROK.

        I personally think that’s why DRPK tried so hard to knock out all the six K9 SPH on the island and didn’t bother with any of the 105mm towed guns which are also on the island. It’d been great PR gain for DPRK leadership to show off their populace (especially to make the young Kim look great), ‘look we shot up the ROKMC on the island and not even 1 shell came back’. But of course that little miracle they were hoping for didn’t happen, as ROKMC did fire off 80 155mm shells.

        Looks like ROK now is equipping the 5 islands (actually only 2 of them as other 3 are tiny) with substantial offensive weaponry by doubling number of K9 SPH with K10 (automated ammo supply vehicle for K9) backing them up, MLRS and even some cruise missile types based on the islands.

        FYI, ROKMC HAD asked for more such equipment but the funding was denied. ROKMC takes up 3.9% (approx) of total # of troops in ROK armed forces but only received little over 2% of the annual funding ROK armed forces receive. Yeah, even ROKMC always get the older equipment, if at all.

        One more thing.
        Such artillery duel did happen in the past. In 1980’s (?) DPRK shelled south side of DMZ (still within DMZ) with some artillery shells. The local ROK Army Division commander in charge of the sector responded with the ENTIRE artillery of his division and I believe DPRK called to apologize or something to that effect. I read about this when some ROK govt official talked about a meeting he had with the 1st generation Kim of DPRK during one of the rare ‘diplomatic’ encounters between ROK and DPRK. The 1st gen Kim supposedly asked the ROK official how that ROK Division general was doing by name. The ROK official was shocked that the 1st generation Kim of DPRK knew the ROK general’s name.

    • elgatoso
  • Byron Skinner

    Good Evening Folks,

    I’m with praetorian on this, it’s time for China to act like a Regional Power. For nearly two decades now China has been building its Naval powers and established such nonsense as first and second island lines of defense. This is clearly with in China’s self proclaimed first island line of defense.

    The Yellow Sea contains over 20% of Chinas oil/natural gas reserves, South Korea is its second largest trading partner, China has a lot of self interest here. China wants to elevate itself to a regional power from a pretender, regional powers controls the countries in it area of influence. It’s time to evict the the government of Pyongyang and institute a regime change. As a regional power it China’s position to step up and do this, not South Korea.

    If South Korea does take on North Korea this will reflect badly on China. It will show the the world that China is not a Tiger but a “Paper Tiger”, who can’t move outside it physical borders. The era of Mao’s Guerilla War at sea for the PLAN has passed, real world powers don’t do seaborne pyratecy, the do deliberate actions with stated tactical and strategic goals.

    Personally I think that China is afraid of North Korea and will do as it did last time, nothing and crawl backing into it isolationist corner.


    Byron Skinner

    If China does as it did hen The North Koreans sank a South Korean navel vessel it will show that China is weak, that China can’t control the neighborhood bully and China will lose all the respect for its military power that it has been building since 1988.

    For better or worst and it was very unpopular in the United States and with most of our allies but the US went and did what our government though must be done in Iraq and evicted Saddam Hussen and conducted regime change. If China wants to be even a second tier regional power it must do the same thing with North Korea.

    Is China worthy of being a world power or is it just, well what ever the reader can fill in the blanks __________.

    • blight

      Well, maybe China doesn’t care what happens in its backyard, and is only maintaining armed forces to keep everyone out of its business. With great power comes isolationism? It’s a philosophy that temporarily worked for the United States…

    • Check data. North Korea is, and has been a Chinese pet since the near simultaneous rise of Communism in both countries. Why? Because the Korean Peninsula is the highway to Beijing, strategically.

      China has absolutely no incentive to intervene in this event, because the Norks are right where the CCP wants them – in a blocking position, keeping the U.S. strategically committed to the area. We will see if this behavior changes as China attempts to extend its strategic control over East Asia.

      • STemplar

        In addition I would add North Korea is the place poor Africans talk about. It is an absolute social disaster and the Chinese know it. They step into that and it will make Iraq and Stan look like a trip to Disneyland. The Norks spend something like 40% of their GDP on the military. You remove that and you literally have an entire nation that has no other skills at all and can’t feed itself. It is an absolute nation building nightmare.

    • Rick W.

      I think the best way to get China to come out of its corner and throw off their game is to let S. Korea off the leash a little and let them get a few hits on N. Korea.

      • STemplar

        I somewhat agree with this. This time there is no ambiguity in regards to torpedo blast reconstruction. These were artillery shells, fired from the north onto another nation’s sovereign soil. Pretty tough for the Chinese to ignore. I think publicly we call for calm and restraint. Privately we put the Chinese on notice if the Norks pull this behavior again, all bets are off. I can’t imagine the Chinese are very happy with the Norks latest move.

  • roland

    The problem on this situation is how can we stop NK atrocity w/o causing a war? SK was taking a biting over many years. If we place our shoe on SK shoe, would you want your relatives or kid die from getting shot w/o doing anything? There should be justice for SK sake.

  • carg

    Korea is an artillery-war. Very mountainous, very cold. Armor would just get funneled and there’s only so much air power can do.

    The island that was attacked is about 12km from NK. The RoK are reportedly moving more K9 (155/52) guns to island , replacing their 105s on the island.

    • roland

      I think they needed a lot of modified GPS guided MLRS. Say 1000 MLRS. to defends themselves against NK attack.

      • blight

        Again, no point to parking all your artillery on an island out of the way in the event of a real shooting war. If push comes to shove, those troops on the island are at best a force in being meant to tie down KPA units; with the ROKMC possibly in a position for spoiling attacks on land (or a springboard for Inchon 2) or to tie up KPA troops in an invasion of the island.

        MLRS’ advantage is very long range and saturation capability. Possibly not that useful against concealed artillery.

  • Oblat

    There is already many in South Korea who see the US alliance as a liability. Such pointed demonstrations of the vulnerability of South Korea together with the huge economic pull of China just strengthen that.

    The idea that China isn’t helping out the US position is East Asia is a sign of weakness is just laughable.

    • STemplar

      I wonder if the people on that island would agree with you when the Washington shows up off the coast, bet not….

    • Oblat

      South Korea isnt an Island.

      Such teenage posturing only impresses small town Americans.

      • praetorian

        Oblat, I think he means the Island that was shelled by NK

        • STemplar

          I did. Not very nimble mentally.

  • Les Le Gear

    We should stay out of this Korean mess. It’s not our business. We’re already bogged down in astan and iraq. Our “leaders” have a this thing with being involved in issues that our not
    germane to US security. Let’s focus on domestic security issues.

  • Rick W.

    If you had ever talked or trained w/ the ROKA and you asked that question you would only hear one answer out of any of them. North Korea is the only enemy to them. To them there is no other danger to their families except the North. There is a long history of the North probing and attacking the ROKA with the ROKA doing little to fight back and this is not because they are afraid of war, but due to a lot of constraint and discipline in the top brass. To them this is not a skirmish but something that has been building for almost 60 years and lately there has not been a cooling off period like in the past.

    Opinion starts: Personally i doubt any of them want war, but they want the bulling to stop, and the U.N. talk of giving more aid to the N. Korea because of this is not going to help the peace-niks much.
    The Koreans just voted in leaders who are more hard line as a backlash to Moon’s Sunshine Policy. This incident is going to further grow the popular support for the hard liners.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    The situation here is rather simple. The US can go in an deal with it, I don’t think anybody other them perhaps the Kim family thinks that the US couldn’t make a parking lot out of North Korea in short order, WITH OUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    As for South Korea, the US has spent hundreds of billion of dollars on building the South Korean Military, its gold plated, it is unused sine Vietnam, it should be able to handle the North on its own.

    I just finished Bernard D. Cole’s “The Great Wall at Sea, 2nd. Edition, and a few week ago I read “China’s Military Modernization” by Richard D. Fisher. To keep the record straight Mr. Fisher’s book was sent to me by parties unknown, only a publishers return address and no letter, note, card enclosed. I bough Mr. Cole’s book. I will comment on these books later.

    The message in both books is that the PRC wants the respect of a “super power”. it has a big agenda at sea with it’s first and second Island defense lines. For over 20 years China has been begging for acceptance as a world power. It is deploying, although for only three months at a time, in the Gulf of Aden, is making noise about Taiwan and the South China Sea and one had to love the paint jobs it does on it weapons platforms, air, land or sea. All fine theater.

    The time has come for China to take charge of it’s own neighborhood. The Yellow Sea is clearly in China’s self declared 1st. Island defense area. The government of North Korea is an international menace and needs to be changed and the Kim family removed for power, once and for all time.

    The time has come for the CCP to think not as a Chinese political party but as a responsible international governing body, for a moment set aside the faux notion of a secular Chinese government in the PRC , and step up and act like its ready to be at the table of world powers. So far the CCP has been all bluster and no action.

    For North Korea this incident has shown that it is not a responsible country and has no place in the assemblies of world nations. It is time to finish what was left undone in 1951 (or 1953, whatever).

    China can still have a buffer between itself and South Korea and the American presence in that country, What is currently North Korea cold be divided into thirds, a third each for South Korea and a third as an internationally governed territory with South Korea China and a UN faction sharing control until a more stable agreement can be worked out.

    China has until this weekend, when South Korea and the US has a scheduled Naval games that will involve US carriers. After that all bets are off. South Korea has been put is a situation of haveing to do something and what ever it does it must graphically show the people of South Korea that their Government means business.

    To Lt. Col. Fritts just because you kids are anxious to get the keys to the car, just cool you jets, in twenty or thirty years, if you are ready you might get a learners permits. Until then just strap yourselves into your kiddie seats, turn on a video, be quiet and enjoy the ride. Next bathroom is 50 miles away.


    Byron Skinner

    • praetorian

      Byron, I agree, China needs to step up and show the world they are a super power. If they
      dont do this, in my opinion, that means they want it to happen. Its the slight of hand trick.
      Look at what NK is doing, not what im doing.

  • Skysoldier173

    The Chinese need to reel in their rabid dog. The next incident will be more serious, and I believe there is precision arty already there. It could be a mess. The Chcoms need to get rid of the Kim family and install a regime obedient to China. Will it happen? Probably not.

  • Belesari

    A buddy of mine accually served in korea on the DMZ. He said the BS propaganda funneled into the south by the North and the hmm….how do i say this more “enlightened crowd” is so bad they have to have classes basically on the reality of the situation. Japan and Korea both have a huge problem with anti american propaganda and BS.

    Granted more of the people who serve in the ROKA and such know how crap really is but….

  • Belesari

    China wants all the Respect and privlages of a super power but has so far been unwilling to take on the responsibilities. Its fallen more often to the US and other nations and alliances like NATO to patrol the waves for piracy, and for interventions and keeping the peace like in Kosovo, etc.

    Until they are willing to do this they dont deserve such respect and are only acting like bullies of their region.

    Though China has always been a slightly off country. They accually said nothing outside of china mattered……of course they got enslaved for it. And of course so many in the US are encouraging the isolationist meme desguised as some other BS but hey dont let me stop you from screwing over the rest of our country >:(

  • Jonathan

    Anyone have information on the damage that South Korea inflicted? Sat photos? Reports? They said they targeted barracks and fired 80 shells.

    I would of thought the barracks would be even more underground then the artillery.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    While the US ate Turkey and watched turkeys play football yesterday the rest of the world was watching this develop.

    What has come up the past 48 hours. The likely hood of any Naval actions by either China or North Korea is well very unlikely. On China’s part the North Seas Fleet, perhaps the largest of China’s three domestic fleets is truly a paper Tiger. Any Navel vessels that were obtained either from the old Soviet Union or The Russian Federation are bound by a Stalinist era agreement to be used only in case of attack. That rules out the 12 Kilio Submarines said to be with the fleet and the four Sovremenny Class DD’s and the Sunburn ASCM’s. The backbone of the fleet. Without these assets there is no North Seas Fleet.

    The North Korean Navy from Janes to random reports has 708 military vessels of which about 70 are conventionally powered submarines. The surface fleet main ships are three domestically guilt FFG’s. The rest are costal or off shore patrol boats. The North Koreans Navys operational distance form shore is about a 100Km. or 60 Knt. Milies.

    Te Air War. The PLAN has 24 Su-30M’s but they are kept under PLAAF’s operational control and have not yet been sent to the North Seas Fleet Commander. The North Koreans have about 1,200 military aircraft. The most able are about 40 Mig-29 that are permanently based in the Pyongyang area to protect the Kim family. Their next best are 56 Mig 23 and 40 Su-25 the rest are old -6-‘s era Chinese J-4-5-6’s

    It is nearly impossible because of the distances over the Yellow Sea that an Chinese/North Korea air battle could happen. The most like Naval activity would be an attempt by North Korea to use its submarines against a US or South Korean surface vessels or to invade one of the hundreds of islands on the Yellow Sea that is controlled by South Korea. This also is unlikely to happen, the USN has the world’s best ASW and I’m sure all ears are turned on in the Yellow Sea right now.

    The most likely event is something on land. North Korea has about 90,000 special forces types and with 70 submarine, it is very like that these assets are well dispensed in to South Korea, ready to be activated. How fast South Korea can deactivate this force would in reality be the War.

    The quality of North Korea’s ground forces is highly suspect. Of 170 130 mm rounds fired at the island less the half hit the island, it appears that targeting a specific point is beyond the ability of the North Korean artillery.

    Of the 700.000 based North Korean troops on the North South border North Koreas ability to move that large of a formation is in doubt, and the 8 million Militia that is relied on to push in behind the reqular army in to the south has some serious loyalty questions.

    The GW battle group and the USAF are by far the most able military assets in the yellow Sea currently.

    The nonsense that is in the current issue of Popular Mechanics and in Richard Fisher’s book appears to be vastly over stating any threat China may pose to the point of silliness.

    What is happening inside China, well there rumblings that the secular government is questioning the treaty that limits weapons use and the legacy relationship with North Korea. The secular government seems to be embarrassed that China is to weak to become involved in dealing positively with this current problem in it neighborhood.


    Byron Skinner

    • Benjamin

      The only thing I would have to disagree with you on deals with the accuracy of their artillery. They were able to take out 2 of the 6 K-9 artillery pieces and from what I saw the K-9’s were in some type of bunker.
      Also, from what I have read many of the NK artillery rounds did hit the island but did not detonate.

  • Jonathan

    I think NK’s strategy is to sit in place and lob missiles, rockets, and artillery from their bunkers and silos. Thats my opinion anyways. If we had the means to shoot their ordinance out of the sky by the tens of thousands, President Kim jung ill would probably nuke himself out of frustation.

    They must know that if they moved their military out of their defense structures, we should be able to bomb them more easily.

    Lets hope NK and SK can start being friends instead. This war stuff is pointless. There is no glory in both sides suffering. Pray that the war never happens. Hell once NK stops being so paranoid and phobic about the outside world, they would probably turn out to be good people. I would welcome NK as an ally. I would even take a vacation there to see all the impressive military bunkers they have built. Check out google earth, the whole country is built like a fortress. You have to admire them for that. There is no other country on earth quite like it.

    • STemplar

      Thank you no, I won’t admire any nation for any reason that has so deluded itself that it’s people are forced to drink from open sewers and eat bark. Frankly, war would be a merciful act for the North Korean people as opposed to the multi generational social torture that has been inflicted on them by the tyrants in Pyongyang.

      There is nothing for the South Korean side of the equation to do. The north is lock step ruled by mad men and the Chinese are as useless as the day is long in this matter. Clearly they intend to exert zero influence. The Chinese want to have their cake and eat it to. I think the six party talks are an utter failure. The US and South Korea should turn to their real allies and begin to form a comprehensive long term strategy to collapse the North Korean regime as short of open conflict as possible, but not with some fairy tale standard that rules it out either.

  • Jonathan

    1600 missiles? Thats our best intel?

    I would say 16,000 at least.

    probably close to 1600 which are the longer range daepongs or whatever you call them, The ones that can reach the southern part of the peninsula and Japan.

    I bet they have at least 100 they could lob at the CONUS too. Since its only a matter of getting them in orbit, which is 50-100 miles up. I would even not be surprised if they have closer to 500.
    I have always thought we underestimated them. Same for China. China knows the sheer amount of ICBMs we built in the 60’s. Im almost positive they have at least emulated that. I hear ridiculous statements that China only has 100 ICBMs and I laugh.

    And that we have any idea of what their GDP goes into military is laughable. They arent like the US with transparancy on those figures.

    Im not anti US, just saying it like I see it.

  • Jonathan

    Also how do they not know the damage they inflicted to North Korea?

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    Well Sunday is closing in on the world, the tension is rising and we have the opening of another Clive Cussler book.

    To Jonathan, you have been drinking way to much right wind Kool-Aid. If you are interested in more then just Heritage Foundation or Jamestown Foundation propaganda, do some looking on any of the search engines.

    So now that the GWBG about to push the issue what can China do?

    Well not a whole he** of a lot, its international face has pumpkin pie all over it, and any speculative respect they might have enjoyed as a military power is gone from the world community of nations.

    What’s left?

    Let the NORKS know that when the the US leaves the neighborhood the Chinese will still be there. The best way to do this would be to take a single ship a Destroyer, one of the more recent ons a Luzhou or a Luyang I, and patrol out well with in China’s EEZ, but not to far as to spook the GWBG or a loitering USN SSN.

    It would be nice to let the US State Department know what is coming down and for them to sen the word to the DoD and the USN, if they would be so kind, so the GW won’t send out a couple of F/A 18 E/F’s for an cheap kill or that Captain of that SSN’s sees an opportunity for greatness.

    This should serve notice to the NORKS to use restraint and remind them that they have a land border with China, winter is coming and the KORKS will need energy and food as usual and all that come from China and across that border.

    Will the NORKS get it, Me donthinkso. But to the international community it will show that China is still the biggest kid on the blook called the Yellow Sea after the GWBG goes home.


    Byron Skinner

    • Blight

      If the PRC was interested in reining in the DPRK they could just cut the rail link and detain everyone who flees by land and sea. But they’re not. Why do the Americans and South Korea a favor if it doesn’t help you or South Korea hasn’t begged for it? Grovelling is greatly appreciated while we consider your request…

      Ironically I am sure the PLAN isn’t stupid enough to provoke the ROKN or the USN right about now…unlike the DPRK.

      Too bad we don’t have ground tomahawk anymore.

      • STemplar

        I agree, the status quo serves China’s national security interests. If the North collapses a reunification under South Korean auspices is assured. China will then have a physical border with a US client state. The resources the US dedicated to addressing/countering the Norks will be freed up. Not a good situation for them.

  • Roland

    MSNBC reported: The North Korea military also has mounted conventional, surface-to-air SA-2 missiles on launch pads on a west coast base, aiming them at South Korean fighter jets flying near the western sea border.

  • Roland

    NK have many anti aircraft , anti ship, anti boat short and long missiles, nukes and lasers. We need to review our defenses in SK sea and land.

    • blight

      Huh? Lasers? Where are you getting this?

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Evening Folks,

    I like your account of the events on the island Mr. Johnson, it fills some time gaps. What it does show I think is that the base commander on the island was on top of the situation and responded correctly. His thoughts were clearly on force protection and defending the island. The rest of the South Korea Military appear to be leaderless.

    It looks like everybody has stepped back a bit and took a deep breath and the South Koreans canceled a artillery demo near the island and the NORK border. But international events didn’t play well for China today. Russia made a big grain purchase from Argentina.

    How will this effect what is happening in the Yellow Sea?

    Russia sells grain to China and the Norks, this past Summer in The Russian Federation has produced a Russian grain shortage of about 1.1 million metric tons, with an already expected shortage of 5 million metric tons planned, the Russians are in a bind, prices will go up, as they are doing right now. China also has a grain shortage due to the floods of this past summer and soon will have to go into the world market for its own grain. this leaves the NORKS.

    The likely response to what is taking place now by the NORKS will be to sink more resources (money) into their “nuclear” program so they can have something to blow up and show the world they belong ant the nuclear table. They will do this as they have before at the sacrifice of food and energy for their people. China as in the past will have to come to the aid of the NORKS, but with shortages of the own this will put a lot of pressure on the secular government and eventually the CCP.

    Internally in NORK for the first time in decades there are some serious problems. About 8 million peasants are feeling the cold an hunger and according to some sources are blaming the Kim government. The military has at least two Generals who though they should be in line for leadership position after the expected death of Kim Jong Il and seem to be resentful of Jr. being given military rank and the succession to power. Then there is the older brother in exile who has been bad mouthing is younger brother.

    Lastly there are the no shows of the Bear and the Rising Sun in tis crisis. I would assume that Russia and Japan are only not publicly disinterested, but are working the diplomatic back channels but what are they interested in?

    None of this points to stability in the neighborhood of the Yellow Sea.

    The US so far should be given a A+ in ow they have handled this. From the president on down the chain of command a single message has been sent that China must assume the lead. This is China’s neighborhood and they MUST take an F, thee has been no military or political leadership from China in this crisis.

    The South Koreans have shown a lack of any political will above political posturing to involve the NORKS and President Lee looks like a deer caught in the headlights and is frozen in place.

    The Chinese can be given any more the an F. They have failed at every point to exercise any attempt to resolve this crisis, the inability of the Chinese secular government to act with out the permission of the CCP is quite evident and precluded any consideration of the world community as viewing China as being a political power.

    The PLA is in control and all of what we have have been hearing from men like Bernard D. Cole “The Great Wall at Sea, 2nd. Edition” about how the PLAN and PLAAF are becoming independent of the PLA is nonsense. The PLA and the CCP are one in the same.

    The idea that the CCP CMC would send a SSBN to sea commanded by a Senior Captain with nuclear arms that it couldn’t control is well folks, not in the cards.

    The modernization that has been taking place in the PLA since 1988 has so far amounted to what we see now. A country that can’t even symbolically defend it’s own EEZ with it best fleet.


    Byron Skinner

  • Justin H

    Damn their oil… wait, no oil. Well just nuke their *** already!

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    Day three and a fog both physically and literally hangs over The Yellow Sea today. The weathers physical isn’t deterring the GWBG from its flight operations but the diplomatic fog is very much a hindrance to any progress to dealing with the issues involved here.

    Two articles in the news first the WSJ “Why North Korea Survives” by Edward N. Luttwak and an AP release 10:38 ET ” Leaks: China knows less about N Korea the they though.” by Christopher Bodeen. I won;t go over each article if your are interested read.

    The WSJ piece support basically the US supporting South Korea and give hints that military support is still needed. This of course is in support of the American Military Industrial Complex.

    The AP story goes into the decay relationship between China and the Norks and perhaps why NKorea has come up empty handed with trying to be Beijing to intercede into the crisis. He cites a lack of will and hits at a lack of ability and means by China. Also included as a bonus in the AP story are some wikiLeaks that apply and seriously questions some parts of the US China relationship.

    The mystery duck here is Japan. It appears that much of the US diplomatic and military thinking is locked in Cold War 1980’s though that Japan was no longer interested in any military adventures and would be forever in a state of peaceful compliance. Guess what DoD and State in 20 years Japan has become the strongest military power in northeast Asia to include second place South Korea, third place Taiwan and in a distant fourth place is China. Scratch the ability of US military forecasters to guess the future.

    Japan is on the strongest position outside of the US to influence events in either the yellow Sea, Sea of Japan or the Taiwan Straight. Japan is not an emerging military sea power, she is a Regional Sea Power.

    NKorea’s manufacturing of this crisis and the sinking eight months ago of a South Korean Navel vessel has exposed China as the paper Tiger that she is and has brought a reluctant Japan to fore front.

    Japan with modern US inspired surface ships with AGES, flying F-15 and F-16 the most capable by far of any aircraft in the region is more then a challenge to Beijing.

    Japan is currently debating building Aircraft Carriers and nuclear submarines, the current public opinion in Japan is that the US isn’t going to be around forever and Japan needs to trade to survive and thus need to protect international sea lanes.

    Another issue that Japan is clearly aware of and wants to be part of the opening of the Northwest Passage twelve months a year over Canada. The Russian in 2009 opened the Northeast Passage to a limited volume of shipping, this year they plan to let more traffic use the Northeast Passage. The flow of world trade is changing and China seems to be going against the tide.


    Byron Skinner

  • RickRouss

    North Korea has nukes. Thats it. Thats their only real defense. They may have a huge army, but it’s a joke. The only reason the North hasn’t been popped in the mouth for the crap its been doing is because nobody wants to see Seoul turned into a nuclear crater.

  • john hawkinson

    One should never underestimate the dangerous nature or ability of an adversary.

    History shows that those who do minimize the lethality of their oponents are often surprised and sometimes defeated ,or at the very least forced to take a step backward before they are able to either win or bring the issue to a politically expedient end. NK is fully capable of creating chaos and havoc and to underestimate them is a mistake. Depending on our political will and that of the world community we could find ourselves in a quick confrontation or a tedious, drawnout bloodletting lasting years and yeilding questionable results.

  • Jonathan


    What did I say that you felt was ridiculous? I cant really make a post to try and clarify.
    Their entire industry is focused on their military. If it isnt outfitting soldiers with basic needs, it is building artillery and missiles. They churn out TONS of biological and chemical weapons. You can see on Google Earth alone they have a concentration of their launch pads directly center of their country’s mass(hundreds of launch sites). This is 150+ miles away from the DMZ. This means they have missiles or rockets capable of that kind of range. Now look along the coasts and they have 1000% more then that (probably artillery). And they all have one thing in common usually, they are built on hilltops with barracks,buildings and roads at lower elevation. Doesnt take a genius to understand these are good signs for underground facilities. Which means they probably each hold more then one missile and even more hidden launch silos we cant see with google earth as easily.

    I would rather we think they have millions of missiles then I would want us thinking they only have 1600.

    • Jonathan

      Oh and then theres like the mobile launchers which we wont see until they bring them out, or we had intel of where they were hidden. My hunch is this probably makes up 50% of what they have considering the average NKorean doesnt have a vehicle, they all are utilized for the military. All the trucks and cars they could have built for their regular population have probably been made to be used for mobile artillery, rocket and missiles.