The US is “not kidding” about launching a targeted strike against military targets in Kim Jong-un’s prison state but such an attack could spark all-out war, Korea expert Sue Mi Terry warned.
She said: “If North Korea retaliated in a massive way, unleashed chemical weapons in Japan and there were millions of casualties, I think it’s going to be hugely problematic for the region, in terms of everybody’s response and our relationship with all the regional powers.”
The expert warned against relying on a limited response from Kim based on the assumption that the dictator will act rationally.
Kim has fired off threats of launching attacks against his neighbours and boasted that his nuclear arsenal is capable of reaching the mainland US.
Dr Terry said: “The danger here is that there are some folks who actually think when they’re thinking about a limited military strike that Kim Jong-un might not retaliate or would just retaliate in a very limited way and that’s going to take us back to the negotiating table.
“There are people who actually make this argument, using Kim Jong-un’s rationality as a reason
“The problem is, we do not know that. That’s an assumption. I don’t think anybody really knows what Kim Jong-un will or won’t do.”
Pyongyang’s persistent pursuit of a nuclear arsenal and continued illegal weapons tests have set the country on a collision course with the US.
The US is thought to be determined not to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.
Elements within Trump’s administration are said to be pressuring the President to launch an attack against North Korea, it has been reported.
Proposals have been laid out for a surgical style strike against key military targets within North Korea.
Dr Terry said: “When we keep hearing about this ‘bloody nose’ or limited military strike, they’re not kidding about this.”
Tensions have cooled in the run up to the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea.
Historic high-level talks have been held as the two nations agreed to send a joint ice hockey team to the games.
North Korea have been motivated to come to the negotiating table by fear of an aggressive US Trump policy.
The expert said: “There’s nothing to lose from the North Korean perspective.”