by Robert M. Traxler
So, what do we or a better question is what can we do concerning North Korea?
A bit of history, The Empire of Japan conquered and subjugated the Korean Peninsula starting in 1876 making Korea a “protectorate.” In 1910 they dropped the façade and made Korea a fully subjugated colony. From 1910 t0 1945 Japan raped Korea, the Japanese people felt the Koreans were an inferior species fit only to perform in manual labor jobs. All ruminates of the Korean nation were erased, customs, language, religion and history were replaced with Japanese culture.
The Japanese cut darn near every tree on the entire peninsula, requiring the wood for the war effort. Attractive young Korean girls as young as 12 were forced into sexual slavery, sent all over the Pacific as “Comfort Girls” for Japanese soldiers. Korean men were conscripted into a labor force with more than 300,000 sent to Japan and around the Empire to assist in the war effort.
The Japanese had ovens outside of present day Inchon where nonproductive Koreans were murdered and cremated, not unlike the what the National Socialists did to the Jews in Europe.
The South Koreans have made peace to a greater extent than the North Koreans with Japan. The South, a capitalistic economy, sells a wide variety of goods to Japan and the Japanese have made apologies and even paid reparations. The South Koreans and the Japanese are strong trading partners and becoming closer as the pre-1945 Koreans die out.
The Koreans in the north are not so forgiving. Part of the process of controlling the people is continuing the hatred for the Japanese and the United Nations Forces Korea led by the United States.
It was quietly announced the Americans, South Korean and Japanese militaries conducted joint exercises last month. Japanese military personnel on the Korean Peninsula is an earth-shaking event, one after living in Korea for three years I thought I would never see. The South cooperating with the Japanese tells us both nations are petrified of the nuclear armed North Korea.
Experts differ, but many feel the North Koreans currently can launch scores of long-range missiles at Japan with some ten to twenty equipped with atomic warheads. The North has approximately 1,200 tub and rocker artillery weapons within range of Soul South Korea a city larger than New York and more densely populated. No nation, the United States, Japan or South Korea can prevent a first strike or a counter strike either strike will kill tens of thousands or perhaps millions.
The North has a military (level 1,2,3 forces) of some 5.3 million, we have around 25,000 troops in South Korea and most of them are support troops and headquarters troops. The Japanese Self Defense Forces are very small and would be of only token help. Enter the South Korean Military although much smaller than the North they are superbly trained and equipped, they could destroy an attacking North Korean People’s Army. The defenses between Seoul and the 38th parallel are impressive as are the Koreans ability to move large units into battle and support a sustained campaign.
The North Koreans are a limited threat except for the fact they have nuclear weapons. The fact the Japanese and South Koreans are cooperating should tell us all there is much more to the threat of North Korea than we are now being told. The forces aligned against the North have no option that will not result in horrible losses for the good folks in the South, especially those living my old neighborhood north of the Han River.