The deterioration in relations between our country and North Korea over the Kim Jong-nam case has raised the possibility of a war, even if remote.

North Korea is known to have nuclear capabilities, with its Taepodong-3 ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) reaching 12,800km, covering two-thirds of the globe.

While Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s reminder of our close ties with many countries assures us that they would come to our aid in the event of a war, if an ICBM is launched from
North Korea, we would have only about 20 minutes before it hits us.

The United States Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are armed with a Standard SM-3 missile, which has an antiballistic missile capability.

The SM-3 Block 1B, with its range of about 640km and a maximum altitude of 183,000m (the thermosphere), can intercept ballistic missiles and is part of the US’s Ballistic Missile Defence system.

We could request the US Navy to deploy two such destroyers — one off our east coast, the other in the Straits of Malacca — to cover and defend our country in the event of an attack.

Coming back to the Jong-nam issue, while it is acknowledged that the right of sovereignty rests with our country since his assassination occurred on our soil, we must take into account two factors:

HE is a citizen of North Korea; and,

HE is a direct relation of their supreme commander.

As such, I believe that it would be protocol and a gesture of goodwill on our part to:

ALLOW North Korea to play a part in the investigation of this incident; and,

RETURN his body to their country and their leader, and let them handle the task of locating his next of kin.

THAM WAI KEONG, Defence analyst, Kuala Lumpur

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