Seoul will obviously bear the brunt of an initial barrage from the north, so if NK wants to make a dent they better be quick because I strongly suspect SK has an extensive any missile system that will knock many of the birds out the air and another system to take out their launching pads. The distances are short so many of the missiles I'm guess will touch down, but this also means the mobile rocket launches won't be able to be mobile for too long and easily tracked.About the worst Kim Jong Un could do is detonate his nuclear bombs in North Korea and hope the fallout destroys South Korea.The problem is that there's not much one can do to stop several thousand old-school artillery shells and rockets landing in Seoul in the first wave of a barrage. 25 million people live in an area that's hard to evacuate:
He can't fire his missiles with much more than standard high explosive warheads, and not particularly big ones.
He probably has enough missiles to destroy Seoul, of course.
But the US Destroyers have self defence missiles designed to intercept ballistic missiles.
So maybe only part of Seoul would be destroyed.
Meanwhile Pyongyang would be like a cup of coffee - flat, black and smoking...
But the risk to Australia is that we might have to do without Hyundai and Kia cars, and be stuck with Fords and Hondas from Thailand.
I also feel SK has had enough crap over the years and will hit back fast and hard before a cease fire is requested by the yanks. Pyongyang is 175km roughly from China, so I think provided nothing ventures north of the capital and nuc's are not involved China will stay put but demand an immediate cease fire or they will cross the border.
Both China and US know they do not want to get involved in a head to head skirmish in Nth Korea again as this time it could easily escalate into something more personal and messy.
The Boy Kim knows he will have no where to run and hide and being educated outside NK knows full well the very limited capability of the NK military as do I suspect most of the generals and they also know much of the NK population doesn't believe much of their BS propaganda and hence are only submissive under the point of a gun. So how far is he and the rest of the NK Elite willing to risk their own little empires and willing to push this sabre rattling into a full blown conflict. They will be surely be killed although the question is by who? I'm sure they would run head first towards the yanks away from their own army if given half a chance as at least the US will abide by UN Geneva convention. The NK people and soldiers will not.
To date, the world has only tolerated NK for one reason, China would protect them. So like the little brother poking his tongue at the school yard heavies knowing big brother will protect at all costs. Well big brother appears to be growing tied of little brothers antics and may just be willing to look away while little brother takes a few on the face.
...and one final thing. SK is not interested in reunification as NK is a basket case and will drag down the SK economy for at least a decade and they will have a major humanitarian case on its hands having to feed them all and basically given them a 21st century education in reality. A conflict will also see NK's head towards the border to escape NK in general and/or a potential war. So there is no chance SK will fire first. But the USA cannot stand back and let boy Kim continue to develop nuclear bombs, as limited value as they would be. Would NK stand back and allow the USA to take targeted strategical strikes at their nuclear development facility if the USA cannot sabotage it in other ways?