“This week, U.S. envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun declared that “diplomacy is still very much alive.”
Because NK recognizes that the West’s economic sanctions and military technology have Kim surrounded. Here’s the money quote:
Kim and his cohort may regret their Hanoi stonewall. Their action will further stiffen economic and political sanctions. Financial restrictions hinder North Korean money laundering and the naval embargo has crimps smuggling. When companies are caught violating the sanctions, the businesses and their officers are penalized.
Sanctions aren’t perfect but they impose costs on Pyongyang. Over time, the economic stress increases.
New military technology is another noose confronting Kim’s tenure in Pyongyang.
Small allied drones have identified his bunkers, tunnels and hardened artillery locations near the DMZ. These structures are vulnerable to smart bombs and armed drone attacks. South Korea’s kill chain pre-emptive strike concept challenges North Korea’s ability to launch sophisticated surprise attacks. Kill chain combines surveillance and intelligence capabilities with hypersonic missiles and other quick-strike weapons that can destroy missile launch sites and command centers.
U.S. and allied anti-missile technology and sensor systems are improving dramatically. Land- and ship-based anti-ballistic missiles have improved. A new wrinkle affecting North Korea is boost-phase intercept using missile-armed F-35s and “long-loiter” drones armed with high-speed missiles. Drones with advanced sensors can already track missile deployments and launches. Within two years, North Korea might launch an ICBM and, within seconds, see it destroyed in boost phase by a swarm of missile-firing drones.
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