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US-North Korea war would cost South Korea 20,000 lives a day, retired Air Force general warns

Undated photo from North Korean News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visiting a Korean People's Army unit, in an undisclosed location, North Korea. Photo released August 2017. (Balkis Press/Abaca Press/TNS)
September 26, 2017

If the United States were to enter a war with North Korea, South Koreans would die at the clip of 20,000 a day, according to one retired Air Force brigadier general.

“Too many Americans have the view that it would be like the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan, or like combat operations in Libya or Syria, but it wouldn’t remotely resemble that,” Rob Givens said, the Los Angeles Times reported. Givens was stationed on the Korean Peninsula for four years.

The Pentagon estimated the death count in South Korea to be 20,000 daily in a war situation, Givens said.


“There is only one way that this war ends,” Givens said. “With North Korea’s defeat – but at what cost?”

Talks of alleged war erupted this week between the U.S. and North Korea.

The White House said on Monday that the U.S. did not declare war on North Korea, as the country’s foreign minister has claimed this week.

On Monday morning, in response to President Donald Trump’s tweet over the weekend that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” if it keeps threatening the United States, North Korea’s foreign minister said Trump has “declared war,” and that North Korea would shoot down U.S. bombers if it has to.

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters on Monday in New York, according to various reports.

“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country,” he said.

“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N.,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

The North Korean Foreign Minister on Friday threatened to drop a Hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations earlier this week.

“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong Un does,” Ri told reporters on Friday.

Over the weekend, the U.S. military sent Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and F-15C Eagle fighter jets to fly over waters east of North Korea in a show-of-force against the country.

Recent Rhetoric

North Korea threatening to test an H-bomb on Friday came after a slew of accusations from North Korean dictator Jim Kong Un on Thursday, in response to President Trump’s intense U.N. General Assembly speech on Tuesday, during which the President said “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un is on a “suicide mission” and that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if need be.

On Thursday – the same day that Trump signed new sanctions against North Korea – Kim Jong Un threatened President Trump that he would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea if the U.S. had to defend itself States or its allies, and he also called Trump a “dotard.”

In a rare appearance on camera, Kim spoke directly and said that Trump was “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.”

Kim also said that Trump is “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire,” and that his U.N. speech showed “mentally deranged behavior.”

“[Trump] made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history,” Kim said. “I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying North Korea. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”

The statement was published by North Korean’s propaganda directorate, Fox News reported.

On Wednesday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho had said the President’s speech and threats were “the sound of a dog barking.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday: “We cannot deny the possibility it [an H-bomb or missile] may fly over our country said the country must ready itself for the sudden escalation in tensions and be prepared for a missile launch,” CNN reported.


The new sanctions aim to impact the flow of cash to North Korea and cut off trade partners, as well. The sanctions could also have contributed to the intensity of Kim Jon Un’s most recent statement, as sanctions further and further alienate North Korea.

The previous sanctions agains North Korea banned about 90 percent of North Korea’s exports, fully banning the country’s textile exports and reducing its oil and petroleum exports. The sanctions also banned the country’s overseas laborers, which provided nearly $500 million in revenue; and cut off all foreign investment with North Korea, its assets being frozen. They were passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council – with both China and Russia voting in favor – following North Korea’s sixth ever successful nuclear missile launch and claims that the country now has a Hydrogen bomb it can place on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this week that the sanctions are already working, and that North Korea is already starting to suffer from the fuel shortages.

President Trump said Tuesday at the U.N. that it is time for North Korea to realize that ceasing its missile program is the “only acceptable future,” but that the United States is ready to “totally destroy” the country if it continues on this path of destruction toward the U.S. or its allies.

North Korea recently launched yet another missile, on Sept. 14, this one an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

The North Korean launch came hours after North Korea threatened to blow the United States to “ashes and darkness” and has said it will “sink” the country of Japan, following a United Nations resolution that banned 90 percent of its exports. North Korea had promised the U.S. would “suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in history” over the sanctions.

President Trump has said that the latest sanctions the United Nations imposed on North Korea are “not a big deal” compared to what might happen in the future.

The United Nations in August also unanimously approved sanctions against North Korea in response to Kim Jong Un’s two successful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July.

Then, North Korea threatened “thousands-fold” revenge on the United States following those sanctions, which cut North Korea’s export revenue by $1 billion, or about a third. The sanctions banned North Korea from exporting coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

North Korea’s sixth nuclear missile test caused a 6.3 earthquake and was roughly five times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The test came hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed that it now had an H-bomb to put onto its long-range ICBMs.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has said that North Korea is “begging for war,” and that it’s time for the international community to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea.

North Korea has come out slinging harsh words following U.N. Security Council sanctions that ban nearly all of its exports, saying this week that the U.S. faces “final ruin” it it goes to war with Kim Jong Un.