Late on Wednesday evening, a highly decorated former South Korean General told reporters and North Korean policy experts that any invasion of North Korea would be met with severe resistance from well-armed soldiers. I.-B. Chun said, "it is not going to be like going into Iraq or Afghanistan. It's not going to be like toppling Hussein. This would be more like trying to get rid of Allah."

The Kim family command a god-like following within the country. The population and armed forces support the Kim dynasty in an almost religious manner. The leadership even have their own mythical ancestral tales.

The North Korean government promote the story that Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il, was born on the slopes of Mount Paektu. His actual birth was in the Soviet Union.

The challenges of a war with North Korea

Chun described how the United States would face monumental challenges in a war with North Korea. The success of a bombing campaign would be limited. The North Korean Military keep most of its infrastructure deep underground to protect it from aerial bombardment.

The North Korean military is not insignificant. It may be a small country, but it has a military force of around 1.3 million men and women with 7.7 million reserves. Chun also estimates that the North Korean military has between 2,000 and 5,000 tons of chemical and biological weapons.

The North Korean population are a well-trained military force. Every single North Korean male receives at least 100 hours each year of military training. The whole civilian population knows how to fire a weapon and basic survival skills. The US would not only be at war with the North Korean Army, it would be under fire from the whole population.

Is an invasion on the horizon?

Tensions between the two Koreas cooled this week. Talks took place between the two nations ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics. This was the first incidence of communication between the two countries in more than two years. This indicates that the North may finally be open to diplomatic communication.

However, President Trump has not ruled out a preemptive strike on North Korea. One thing is clear from Chun's assessment; Pyongyang is ready for a war with the US. The highly-trained civilian population and widespread devotion to the Kim dynasty would make North Korea a formidable opponent. Chun described a war with North Korea "like having a toothache and having to pull out all of your teeth. It should be the last option."

Donald Trump would do well to take note: Treat the toothache, don't pull all the teeth out.