The North Korean Force and the World Nuclear Balance of Power
The situation in North Korea is in a way, a non- issue. NK poses little threat to the USA. The US mainland is safe, Hawaii is safe. The only threat it poses is to Japan, Guam, South Korea. Its rockets are not capable of carrying nuclear weapons. But, what if they fire a missile, the US intercepts it and then NK loses credibility in the face of the world. They then cause problems with South Korea or Japan with conventional attacks, If South Korea or the US responds, there is an escalation. Then, NK responds, elevating hostilities and in response, SK or the US does also. It is precisely these things that could ignite a real war on the Korean peninsula. To defend Guam, the US is deploying the $800 million dollar THAAD battery, capable of destroying any incoming missile. Each missile in the system costs $1 million. So, this system had better work. Since there are only two systems, the US much choose which threat is worse- North Korea or Iran. Originally, one system was to be deployed in Israel.
The US has 8000 nuclear weapons, the UK, 225, France 300, Israel 80, Russia 10,000, Pakistan 100, India 100, China 240, and finally North Korea with 6-12.
In most cases, all the countries with nukes can put them onto a missile except North Korea. North Korea is simply being an idiot for the saber rattling to get attention. China is nervous because if there was a war, they would have to choose whose side they are on. It could be 1950-53 all over again with the Chinese fighting the Americans. If China stayed out and the North lost, then, the Korean peninsula would fall into South Korean hands and with American troops on China's border. China would face a dilemma if it reaches this point.
Would they let North Korea collapse? Hard to say. But it might show their true colors regarding America and South Korea. As far as nuclear devastation, NK could only create it via non-missile means with dirty bombs, which would destroy Seoul. It is hard to imagine that NK would take such action for NK would cease to exist unless China came to rescue them.
Would they do so again?