Go to contents

U.S. Nuclear Weapon to Be Used in Case of N. Korea`s Invasion

U.S. Nuclear Weapon to Be Used in Case of N. Korea`s Invasion

Posted November. 07, 2004 23:25,   


The U.S. has completed a scenario in which it would drop 30 nuclear weapons if the North invades the South, Japan’s news agency Kyodo News reported on November 7. The report also said the U.S. had exercised a simulated dropping drill in 1998 in preparedness for a worst-case scenario and the North’s use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. has detected the North’s nuclear development since 1982, the Kyodo News reported, quoting from the U.S. government’s classified documents that U.S. anti-nuclear and environmental protection groups and private research institutes demanded to open based on the Freedom of Information Act. Titled, “Vulnerabilities of North Korea’s Military,” the document was written in March 1978 by a private institute at the request of the U.S. Defense Department. This document indicates that in the event of a North Korean invasion to the South, the U.S. would use 30 nuclear weapons. The Kyodo News explained that the scenario was a clear testimony to the U.S. willingness to pursue a nuclear deterrence policy, even though it had already announced withdrawal of its strategic weapons from overseas bases and removed all nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

Indeed, the U.S. had carried out a six-month simulated attack drill of transporting nuclear weapons by flight from the U.S. continent to North Korea. Military aircraft such as Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS), KC135 tankers, and F15E fighter-bombers have participated.

Following are the main contents of the classified documents that Kyodo News obtained:

A Simulated Dropping Drill Against North Korea

The U.S. 4th Fighter Wing, mobilizing 24 F15E fighter-bombers, had carried out the loading and dropping operation of mock warheads in a simulated nuclear strike for the first half of 1998. In this drill, bombers that left Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina flew 599 miles to Avon Park in Florida to drop mock warheads at the shooting range of the airbase there. In the context of the long distances from the U.S. continent to North Korea, AWACS and KC135 tankers were in the drill as well.

North Korea Continued Nuclear Development Since 1982

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) found out that despite it being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985, the North had already started building a new experimental reactor in Yongbyon Nuclear Center in 1982. In its classified documents titled “North Korea: Potential for Nuclear Weapon Development,” the CIA pointed out that the North would willingly develop nuclear weapons and, with a few imported materials, it would be able to set up detonators in nuclear weapons in a short time. Also, a slight remodeling of the MiG-23 fighter aircraft would easily serve as a nuclear weapon carrier, which could reach major targets in northern South Korea, according to the agency’s analysis.

The agency also detected 100 cave-like sites that it assumed were the traces of high-explosive explosions and identified them as nuclear test sites. Then-president Bill Clinton had considered attacking North Korea, which means the Korean Peninsula faced a potential nuclear crisis from 1993 to 1994.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com