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President Trump orating on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
Reading Gareth Porter's insightful account, "Is the Trump Administration Planning a First Strike on North Korea"  , particularly the intrigue he exposes within the administration with some favoring a first strike and others opposed what struck this writer was this. It seems inconceivable North Korea would ever surrender its nuclear arsenal deterrent.
As to why here's a few "clues".
North Korea has seen what happens when a regime the US has demonized has no nuclear deterrent i.e. Afghanistan in 2001, but especially Iraq in 2003 and more recently Libya in 2011-which had earlier given up acquiring a nuclear arsenal-the US will attack it militarily to affect regime change.
The US has engaged in a proxy war against Syrian President Bashar Assad since 2011 to affect regime change in non nuclear Syria.
The US instigated a coup in Ukraine in 2014 that over threw the legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.
The US has armed and supported Saudi Arabia's war of aggression against the Houthi's in Yemen.
The US is presently actively engaged to affect regime change in Venezuela to unseat the legitimately elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Of course this is not an extensive list of coups, regime changes, wars and occupations the US has initiated against contrived non-nuclear "enemies" since the end of WWII beginning with the war against North Korea in 1950 to '53 with an armistice signed but no peace treaty to this day because the US refuses to negotiate it even though North Korea is in favor.
North Korea also has seen the late Soviet Union, now Russia and China, both with nuclear arsenals deter the US from initiating a military attack against either-though provocations against both have accelerated in recent years.
So it doesn't take much to understand why North Korea would ever consider surrendering its nuclear deterrent. It's the one thing that assures its survival.
Those in the know in the US military recognize a first strike on North Korea would be disastrous. According to one of Porter's Pentagon sources, "We don't know where all the nuclear weapons and missiles are. Period." Even if they did "military leaders are well aware that North Korea could respond to a US first strike on its missile and nuclear targets with a devastating artillery and rocket attack on the South Korean capital, Seoul". A defector from the North Korean embassy in London put it this way, a "North Korean response to any attack, no matter how small, would be fierce". US forces in South Korea would suffer heavy losses. In all probability Japan would be retaliated against. Hundreds of thousands of civilians would be killed just with conventional weapons.
A US first strike on North Korea would be an insane exercise and the US military could very well refuse to carry it out if they considered the order "illegal". Talk of this very thing happening has even come up in a recent Senate Foreign Relations hearing.
US military misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq would be nothing compared to a first strike attack on North Korea.
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