Ex-Special Assistant Commander of the Pacific Command of the United States replied to Azeri.Today
Azeri.Today's exclusive interview with Ralph Koss, famous American military expert, former special assistant to the commander of the Pacific Command of the United States, Colonel in reserve.
- Since 2006, Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, including submarines. At the same time, the North Korean leadership rejects the demands of the international community and the UN Security Council to stop nuclear and missile tests, citing a threat from the United States. What kind of threat are the North Koreans speaking of? Is there really such a threat?
- North Koreans accuse the US of having a “preemptive nuclear attack strategy” but no such strategy exists. While the North seems to legitimately fear the United States, the US has made it clear it has no intention of initiating hostilities on the Peninsula, but will strongly come to the defense of South Korea if attacked.
- Meanwhile, Washington considers the threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul and Tokyo quite real. Do you believe in this?
- I do not worry about an actual attack by North Korea against the South or Japan since such action would be suicidal and the North’s leaders are not crazy. The real concern is nuclear blackmail. Once the North thinks its nuclear weapons have others deterred, it could become more assertive or provocative, especially in disputed territorial waters.
- In your opinion, what factors can provoke a war on the Korean peninsula?
- An overt act of aggression by the North against the South or Japan or against US bases in either country. I don’t see this as likely, since the North knows it would lose such a war.
- Russia has expanded its maritime operations in the Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and Caspian seas. Russia has kept and modernized its submarine fleet and recently launched the second nuclear submarine of the Yasen project. is America going to take retaliatory measures in terms of building up its naval forces? What plans does the US have for building up the Navy?
- The US Navy is undergoing a rapid expansion and improvement program driven in part by Russia’s maritime activities but also by China’s growing maritime capabilities and its aggressive actions in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
- The second aircraft carrier "Shandong" was launched in China in April. Currently, Beijing is building a third aircraft carrier of large dimensions. Do not you think that the launching of the second aircraft carrier and the construction of the third aircraft carrier is China's serious claim to dominate in the Asia-Pacific region?
- I think China is seeking to improve its maritime capabilities and building aircraft carriers is one way of doing that. Chinese carriers are far less capable than American carriers and I do not foresee the day when China will have “dominance” over the US at sea (or anywhere else).
- How do you assess the potential of the naval forces of the Caspian countries today?
- Sorry, but I don’t feel qualified to respond to that question. I am just not familiar with Caspian Sea navies.
- Azerbaijan is building up its naval forces , within its capabilities. In your opinion, can the Americans share their knowledge and experience with Azerbaijanis in the field of naval forces?
- US is ready to share its experience with Azerbaijan in the field of naval forces. I think it would be a positive development to see cooperation between our two countries. Sending your naval officers to US raining programs and military educational institutions would be a good start.
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