In pure numbers, North Korea’s military looks formidable, much larger than the more affluent South in both personnel and equipment. The North’s 1.2 million soldiers face off against 640,000 South Korean troops who are backed up by 26,000 U.S. personnel stationed in the country.
The question is can North Korea hit the United States, or is their threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States?
The Guardian report said that North Korea could hit the United States interests with a “fire shower” of nukes.. Excalty how far can North Korea deliver the 5-7 nukes that they’re currently suspected of having?
According to Wikipedia, it depends. If they’re using the short to medium range missiles, it’s probably going to be the Musudan, which has an operational range of 2500-4000 kilometers. The darker red circle shows the maximum range of this. Nowhere close to US territories, but China, Russia and Japan should probably keep an eye open.
However, if they’re going to use their Taepodong-2 long range three-stage missiles, there’s a MAXIMUM possibility of 10,000 kilometers (the larger circle). However, a more likely scenario is somewhere around 4500 kilometers, which still isn’t quite far enough to hit Hawaii.
North Korea has around 12,000 artillery guns, many arrayed near the border. It also has an arsenal of intermediate range missiles in operational deployment, some of which can travel more than 3,000 km (1,875 miles). That puts South Korea and Japan in range as well as the U.S. territory of Guam.
They have the capability to strike anywhere in South Korea and Japan.
North Korea has also shown it has submarine capabilities.
In 2010, a North Korean submarine was widely believed to have sunk a South Korean naval vessel, killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang has denied it was behind the attack. In the same year, North Korea shelled a South Korean island in a disputed area, killing civilians.
Overall the chances of an attack on the continental United States is not “very likely”, although Alaska considering North Korea’s Taepodong 2 missile is a far more serious threat. The 40m missile is believed to have a range of 4,500 to 6,000km, meaning it could in theory hit Alaska.