back to article Pyongyang to unleash NUKULAR horsemen of the Norkocalypse?

Last week, UK prime minister David Cameron raised a few eyebrows when he insisted North Korea has the capability to launch a missile strike against the the US and the UK. Just like Blighty was once warned of Saddam Hussein's terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction, the PM forewarned: “North Korea does now have missile …

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      1. Yesnomaybe
        Mushroom

        Re: If they were going to target the UK

        Shipments of bananas and Brazil nuts don't set off alarms for no reason at all. Container-ports have detectors.

    1. Anonymous C0ward
      Joke

      Re: If they were going to target the UK

      "Negative, terrible seller, item damaged in shipping and seller refused return"

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Inhibited

    The idea that something can be made safer through the addition of HF fills me with joy.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Aldous

    The US Cancelled a Missile Test

    With that and whatever they do for glorious pork chop i mean leaders birthday will be the end of it as the yankee imperials have backed down all hail kim jong bacon!

    1. Mark 62
      Trollface

      Re: The US Cancelled a Missile Test

      One less thing to lose to the sequester...

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    The idea

    that the nork missiles are cack works well

    right upto the point one lands on Pearl harbour

    Oh and the last people to try that one came to a very sticky end......

    1. Psyx

      Re: The idea

      Just take a look at a map of the Pacific and imagine it as a wall, with Pearl Harbour as the relevant-scaled dot on it. Now hit it with a dart from the other side of the room. That's what NK dropping one of their rockets there would be like.

      1. dotdavid

        Re: The idea

        So what you're saying is Pearl Harbor Sucked, but Not As Much As North Korea's Chemical Rocket Guidance Systems

  4. Herbert Meyer
    Boffin

    cough... Nitric Acid

    IRFNA will form Nitric Acid, rather than Hydrofloric acid, on contact with moisture in the air.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: cough... Nitric Acid

      I was talking about the hydrogen fluoride inhibitor component. Maybe should have clarified that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cough... Nitric Acid

        No, I understood perfectly. You need a better class of reader who knows more chemical engineering.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: cough... Nitric Acid

      Yes, but the hydrogen fluoride used as a 'stabliser' does.

      Edit: Sorry Lester you beat me to it. Snap!

      I suppose I should change my post to say something either witty or interesting now, and pretend that's what I meant to do all along. Oh well...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course, then there's this...

    http://beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2013/04/did-china-supply-n-korea-with-an-orbital-nuclear-weapons-platform-2445898.html

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
      Stop

      Re: Of course, then there's this...

      No, China did not supply North Korea with an orbital nuclear weapons platform, partly because these don't exist but mostly because the Chinese aren't stupid enough to give their loony neighbours anything that might be used to threaten them. This does not of course preclude the Chinese having sold them something that could plausibly be claimed to be an orbital nuke carrier but which is in fact a very large eggbox.

      1. 142
        Meh

        Re: "partly because these don't exist"

        Hmmm... unfortunately it's a safe bet that these "don't exist" in the same way Israel's nukes "don't exist".

        But you're right there's no chance that China would be that stupid. The scenario is so idiotic on so many levels it baffles me how our liveleaker could have come up with it even as a piss take!

  6. Frankee Llonnygog

    Big bombs are so old fashioned

    Imagine the surprise on everyone's faces when the Dear Leader triggers the Massively Distributed Bomb, a tiny element of which is packed into every Samsung phone.

    - This is a public safety announcement brought to you by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, etc

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Big bombs are so old fashioned

      Apple have already patented the 'smart (phone) bomb'.

      It was part of the original Os for when people don't want apps removed remotely.

      Ultimate sanction - plus Samsung end up in court again (if it's still standing)

  7. Steve May 1
    Unhappy

    Simples

    For a North Korean first strike, (and there is no chance of them having any capability of a second strike after the retaliation), they need no high-tech delivery systems. They need only conceal the weapons in shipping containers, (with Samsung logos for irony), and have them conveyed to the target sites in the USA or elsewhere. The devices don't need to be constrained by size or weight, (within reason), or the need to survive launch and re-entry.

    There would also be the extra benefit of plausible deniability, with no flaming rocket trail to follow. Although I suspect the legal niceties might get overlooked in assigning blame.

    This would, of course, not be the act of a rational state, but history is overflowing with national leaders so divorced from reality that their actions do include the normally unthinkable. I think it is entirely possible that the Great Leader sincerely believes that his armed forces can present the world with a fait accompli by overwhelming the South in exactly the same fashion as in Korean War 1., before an efective US response could be mounted. He might even be right.

    But in the modern age mere numbers of boots and tanks and guns do not an effective army make. All otgher things being equal, they don't hurt either. One of the saving graces of your average turbo-nutter dictator is they will generally prefer 100 tanks with shiny paint jobs but zero maintenance to 10 fully operational vehicles. An air force is just so many targets if the pilots have forgotten which switch does what in the cockpit.

    Add in the appalling terrain of most of Korea, (with about 57 kilomountains/Wales in Reg units), and the end result could well be the biggest traffic jam in military history. (Cue video clip of USAF pilots licking their lips in anticipation.)

    Sadly, if things do turn into a shooting war, the real losers will be the "collateral samage" in innocent lives on both sides. Never forget that in all the techo-wanking that goes on.

    1. Psyx
      Pint

      Re: Simples

      "The devices don't need to be constrained by size or weight, (within reason), or the need to survive launch and re-entry."

      You'd still need to fit it in a cargo container, with self-contained power, and able to weather rough sea-states. That's probably more weaponisation than NK have done to date.

      "There would also be the extra benefit of plausible deniability, with no flaming rocket trail to follow. Although I suspect the legal niceties might get overlooked in assigning blame."

      Cargo manifests et al would make it fairly transparent. It wouldn't be hard to track backwards.

      The biggest problem with it is the lack of control. Consider how tightly reined in the NK generals keep their power and how little they trust anything outside their own nation. And consider the power-jockeying within their ranks, and likely disagreement on courses of action. To put a nuke in a cargo container, sail/fly it around the world and then set it off either requires that the mission is hands-off with an early point-of-no-return (which makes it unable to react to changing political situations), or requires that it be detonated on someone's say-so at the end of a phone/coded message/discretion of the ship captain (which flies in the face of keeping a tight rein on matters, distrust of the outside world, etc).

      1. Steve May 1
        Happy

        Re: Simples

        "You'd still need to fit it in a cargo container, with self-contained power, and able to weather rough sea-states. That's probably more weaponisation than NK have done to date"

        Cellphone batteries and bubble-wrap. :).

        "Cargo manifests et al would make it fairly transparent. It wouldn't be hard to track backwards."

        I hear tell that gummints have been known to tell fibs.

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
          Boffin

          Re: Simples

          Perhaps you've not heard of Gamma-assisted Cherenkov glow detectors?

          You have a gamma ray generator at one point, and on the opposite side of the target a Cherenkov Glow detector. Any chunk of fissile material which passes between these two devices produces a positive detection. This is how nukes in containers may be detected, without opening the containers or even seeming to inspect them in any way at all.

          1. Steve May 1
            Thumb Up

            Re: Simples

            Bombs in container SHIPS instead? Limited to coastal cites, I grant you. Quite a few of those.

            Suicide sharks with frikkin' piggyback bombs.

            The principle is sound.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Simples

            I like this idea, but how does the glow get through the outer shell of the shipping container? Does it wait until there are no dockers around, then slip the door bolts and scamper outside?

          3. JeffyPooh
            Pint

            Re: Simples

            It's all a bit pointless. Container ports are typically adjacent to (and sometimes *within*) their city.

        2. Psyx

          Re: Simples

          "I hear tell that gummints have been known to tell fibs."

          Yes, but they get figured out in the end:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Flight_858

      2. Tim Worstal

        Re: Simples

        "You'd still need to fit it in a cargo container"

        Given that a full container load is 40 tonnes this really isn't a problem.

        Many other problems exist, but the weight size one doesn't.

        1. Psyx
          Stop

          Re: Simples

          "Given that a full container load is 40 tonnes this really isn't a problem. Many other problems exist, but the weight size one doesn't."

          Don't be so sure:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Mike

  8. adnim
    Mushroom

    I think that

    our lying politicians are more of a threat to this nation than the hyperbole of a paranoid leader half the globe away.

    1. Steve May 1
      Flame

      Re: I think that

      "our lying politicians are more of a threat to this nation than the hyperbole of a paranoid leader half the globe away."

      Quite right, Mr Chamberlain.

      1. adnim
        Facepalm

        Re: I think that

        Maybe we should just nuke them now. Who knows after South Korea they might just annex China. Or is it China that pulls the strings?

        Nazi Germany had the support of several European nations and Japan, not to mention the sympathy of many others. North Korea's supporters can be listed on any quarter of a second class stamp.

        Mr Cameron voted in favour of the Iraq war proving that he can be misled just as much as he can mislead.

        1. JimC

          Re: North Korea's supporters can be listed on any quarter of a second class stamp

          Agreed in one sense: China is a small word that fits on small pieces of paper. On the other hand as single supporters go its one of the best.

          And the worrying part of it is that NK and the Korean War is a very big thing in the whole Chinese revolutionary psyche. No matter now irrational their government is being it would be emotionally very hard for China to watch them get wiped out by the Yanks. A lot of current Chinese folks grandfathers died stopping NK being wiped out by the Yanks (plus the rest of them, Brits, Australians etc etc) last time.

          1. adnim
            Joke

            @JimC Re: North Korea's supporters can be listed on any quarter of a second class stamp

            If China did kick off in aid of NK and fire a few nukes around, where would they get their baby milk from and sell all that plastic tat?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    More likely scenario

    If the North Koreans really intend to cause problems for the 'merkins (or anyone else over the horizon) then it would be far easier to put a nuke into the bottom of the cargo hold of a ship destined for, let's say, San Fransico harbour. Use the ship's GPS position to trigger the nuke, or if that's too complicated just use an old-fashioned timer of some form. The crew would, of course, not be made aware of the special cargo that they are carrying.

  10. heyrick Silver badge
    WTF?

    What I don't get...

    Nork is not a big place. You go messing with the world for the lulz, they're going to eventually mess back. Now while they might have a win under their belt when it was Americans slogging through the jungle, conflicts just aren't fought like that any more, and it seems like the regime is unstable enough that it may discover a dearth of allies...

  11. jason 7

    So when does the whopping great...

    ....'financial aid' cheque land on the NK leaders doormat so he can stand down till it's spent?

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    North Yorkshire to the Rescue

    One of the justifications for upgrading the Fylingdales Early Warning base after the fall of the USSR was that it would protect us from rogue states like North Korea. So any attempt to launch a missile on London from say Bridlington could be easily detected.

    Of course the conspiracy theory is that it was built in anticipation of an independant Scotland and to provide warning of a Haggis attack on the home counties.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Unfortunately, the North Koreans only have to...

    A) get lucky once.....

    B) realize that the Musdan would be needed to hit Guam, but there are lot of other U.S. bases in South Korea or Japan in the range of better-proven Soviet-era missles already in their arsenal.

    C) do alternative stuff, like put a non-weaponised nuclear warhead on a sub (they have lots of those) and sail that to Guam, Yokosuka, or a major U.S. population center on the coast, like Honolulu, San Francisco or Los Angeles. I don't think the North Koreans are going to start a war, they just want to extort some aid or easing of sanctions. However, it is possible that if the Norks really want to go all-out, you could see a small sub wash up on Waikiki, Santa Monica Beach or into the Golden Gate and then go boom.

    D) realize that chemical and biological weapons dropped on population centers within range of these proven Soviet shorter-range missles and would create a large and militarily/economically disruptive flow of South Korean and/or Japanese city-dwellers out onto the roads into the countryside.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Unfortunately, the North Koreans only have to...

      "Unfortunately, the North Koreans only have to...

      A) get lucky once....."

      ...to achieve nothing except suicide. How exactly would be destroying even a single high priority target with any weapon achieve anything except suicide.

      Even if NK managed to sail up to Pearl Harbour and do a proper job, it would achieve less in war-terms than Pearl Harbour did. And look where that got Japan.

      People would die, but what does it do? Nothing.

      NK are actually more scary in a conventional shooting war than they are as wide-scale nuclear terrorists.

  14. Dave 32
    Mushroom

    Nuclear EMP

    The scariest scenario may be that NK mounts one of their nukes on one of their missiles, and flies it well over SK or Japan, whereupon they detonate the nuke, causing a nuclear EMP. Given the electronics in both SK and Japan, such an EMP could do an INCREDIBLE amount of damage. :-( Plus, it wouldn't be a direct strike, nor would their be any direct casualties. That could create a bit of a political nightmare, since there's no equivalent retaliation in kind (An EMP doesn't damage a 15th century feudal society.). Plus, if NK spouts off that it was a nuclear reactor powered satellite that only exploded because SK/Japan/USA shot it with a missile...

    Dave

    P.S. Mine's the one with the dosimeter in the pocket.

  15. Andy Livingstone

    Homer Simpson still employed to write Headlines?

    Good example of how to take a reasonable article and dumb it down.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disincentives

    China has a couple of very good reasons not to be overly supportive of NK if things get ugly.

    1) The USA is China's very best customer - if the US completely and abruptly stopped buying stuff from China, the Chinese economy would take the mother of all hard whacks. Not too many businesses survive the loss of their biggest customer. Wal-Mart stock might go down a few points, however, due to bare shelves for a while.

    2) The USA owes a lot of money to China. If the USA decided to repudiate all the IOUs made out to China, the Chinese economy would take the mother-in-law of all hard whacks. They don't even have to be repudiated, just "suspending payment" on them "until further notice" would do the job.

    This is pretty easy crisis for the USA, Japan and South Korea to handle - if the chubster gets trigger-happy, just stomp him so hard South Korea will become an island. I wouldn't like to be in Beijing right now, they are probably desperately trying to calm this mess down before it gets them into multiple wars and destroys their economy, which would result in major unrest throughout the country. China is monolithic as long as the good times roll, when things go sour, the locals remember the advantages of home rule (kind of like the situation with the Euro).

    Looks like the ancient Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" has boomeranged on them. I sure hope they can work this out somehow, they've got a LOT to lose on account of their little buddy.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Scrappy Disincentives are a No Contest Match against Fabulous Developments

      Others may see things quite differently, Anonymous Coward.

      For example .... 1) The USA is China's [the East's] very best customer = [The East] China is the USA's best client

      2) The USA owes a lot of money to China [the East] = The USA is heavily indebted to China [the East] and the East [Far and Middle] is rich and the Wild Wacky West is bankrupt.

      And whenever your paper money is worthless because it has no base value, what do you buy goods and trade with not to become an enemy of states and a pariah terrorist nation? Which is a question to ask of many fools and arrogant tools into fantasy fiat banking/fantastic lending for ruinous spending and foreclosure on global assets to a crazy mad elite. :-)

      Sociopaths Rule with Precarious Reins but Control is not within their Closed Power Circles. That they need to Buy in and Feed and Seed to Others with Danegeld to Vanquish Idiotic Greed which Destroys the Minds of MiceMen from within.

      Reality is a Great Computer Game with SMARTR Driver Provision of NEUKlearer Worldly Views ....... Welcome to IT's New Wordy Supply in Fabless Phorm with Truly Amazing Beginnings .......... for Future Advanced IntelAIgent Missions, which are highly susceptible and receptive to Creative Input/Heavenly Output.

      Keep IT Stupidly Simple and Definite Vision is More than Just Complicated Enough to Deliver All that Everyone Needs without Charging. And that is IT's NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Power Supply with Open Source Engines/Heavy MetaDataBase Virtual Machines.

      Surely y'all are not so slow-witted and/or retarded [badly programmed] to not imagine that the Future is completely different from the Present with the Past classified as Early Infected and Corrupt Defunct Stored Memory, Quarantined and Reserved and Preserved in Historical Archives?

      Which is a leading question one would do well to consider responding to with a serious thoughtful answer, although we will most probably also be highly amused by the odd smart alec comment or clever dick reply which chooses to ignore the opportunity to shine brightly in the company of peers and enlighten the massed ranks on the El Reg diaspora and further afield.

      1. Psyx
        FAIL

        Re: Scrappy Disincentives are a No Contest Match against Fabulous Developments

        Cut and paste drivel again.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: ... Re: Scrappy Disincentives are a No Contest Match against Fabulous Developments

          Cut and paste drivel again. …… Psyx Posted Tuesday 9th April 2013 09:40 GMT

          :-) Thanks for the stealthy cover, Psyx, but it is not necessary to lie so blatantly to everyone everywhere.

          Your help deserved an up vote, though. It be the least that I can for your display.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deja Jew

    How long have the Israelis been swearing that they will attack the Iranian nuclear installations in a couple of days?

    And how many times have they attacked them?

    Keep your pants on, boys and girls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deja Jew

      1. Jew != Israeli !== Binyamin Netanyahu.

      2. Israel is not composed of a minority of fruitcakes and a majority of brainwashed serfs. There is, it is true, a minority of fruitcakes, but the majority is very vociferous.

      1. Psyx

        Re: Deja Jew

        1. True

        2. Also true, but that never stops The Mossad.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    No need for missiles...

    ...when they could ship the bloody things anywhere in the world in a cargo container. One should remember that the DPRK is not actually a government. It is a band of pirates. They would be hugely delighted to hold your lives hostage from afar.

  19. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Ok, lets quit pussyfooting around and get right down to it. You know it makes sense v2.0*

    Dave likes to think of himself as a globe trotting leader, .... he's always popping away to lecture Europe on what he thinks is the best thing to do ...... so let see him pop over to Pyongyang for a pow wow and he can then tell us what is happening there and what he thinks needs to be done. Or is that too simple and difficult and it would burst the bubble and render his position exposed as a laughing matter?

    Jaw jaw, not war war, for who benefits from mad conflicts and who suffers?

    *Ok, lets quit pussyfooting around and get right down to it. You know it makes sense v1.0 ... http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/04/20/panel_of_experts_attack_net_snooping_plan/#c_1385997

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