Key point: Pyongyang's artillery are a vastly-overrated problem.
The year 2017 marked a highpoint in U.S.-North Korean tensions with the United States continuing to maintain that the military option was still on the table. Though nuclear threats have also been exchanged, one of the oft-quoted retaliatory capability of North Korea has been its ability to devastate Seoul within a day by applying its conventional artillery fire power. This has been a powerful argument that supposedly adds to deterring the United States from military action. We contend that such an argument is misplaced and fallacious, and it doesn’t withstand tactical and technical scrutiny. We also believe that in a situation of a nuclear overhang, military options are challenged by unacceptable risks.
Way back in 2003, Time magazine reported that North Korean Artillery could flatten Seoul in the first half hour of any confrontation. A South Korean security analyst suggested that North Korean artillery pieces of calibers 170 millimeter and 240 millimeter “could fire 10,000 rounds per minute to Seoul and its environs.” There are many other such analyses and reports (before and after) that have reinforced and complemented this canard. The hype that has been created is now an amoebic prophecy which feeds on itself. It dominates the national thinking of South Korea and has created a fear psychosis. Attempts to argue otherwise or question this canard have lacked depth and are not conclusive. Hence, the canard has assumed delusional proportions. We have carried out an analysis to examine if North Korea can flatten Seoul with conventional artillery in any confrontation. We have given the best to North Korea. The benefit of any doubt was given to the team which argued that North Korean artillery can flatten Seoul. Our emphatic answer is: it cannot. This article is about logically proving that North Korean artillery can never flatten Seoul—leave alone in the first half hour of any conflict.
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