By James Law

As the world grapples with how to deter North Korea's aggressive military build-up, a former US Navy SEAL has come up with a way to beat the rogue nation that's so out-there it might just work.

A fan of military-man-turned-writer Jocko Willink tweeted at him last week to ask how he thought the US should approach the "North Korea issue".

Mr Willink responded that he thought the best approach would be to drop 25 million iPhones on the country - one for each citizen - and then beam free wi-fi to them via satellite, reports News.com.au.

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The internet is available in North Korea, but access is mostly restricted to government institutions and citizens with special authorisation. The media is similarly tightly controlled, as every outlet is state owned and operated.

As incredible as Mr Willink's idea sounds, a North Korea expert told Business Insider that the concept could actually work.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects his country's weapons technology. Photo / AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects his country's weapons technology. Photo / AP

"Kim Jong-un understands that as soon as society is open and North Korean people realise what they're missing, Kim's regime is unsustainable, and it's going to be overthrown," Yun Sun, of think tank The Stimson Center, said.

"They're not going to denuclearise until their regime changes and society change.

"This approach may be the longer route, but it has the hope of succeeding."

Mr Willink's idea has parallels to a campaign called Flash Drives for Freedom, which asks people to donate their old USB sticks so that they can be filled with films and e-books, and then smuggled into North Korea to open citizens' minds and weaken the country's propaganda.

Content loaded onto the thumb drives include South Korean soap operas, Hollywood movies, Korean-language versions of Wikipedia and interviews with North Korean defectors.

"In the world's most closed society, flash drives are valuable tools of education and discovery. In a society without internet, with total government censorship, and with no independent media, North Koreans rely on these little pieces of plastic. Filled with films, books, and internet content, they are windows to the outside world," the organisation's site reads.

The test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / AP
The test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / AP

Mr Sun said, however, that a Western offer to give iPhones to North Korean citizens would be rejected or co-opted by Mr Kim's regime.

The investment would "be exploited first and foremost by the government", he said.

"We will have to swallow the consequence that of $100 investment, maybe $10 would reach the people," he told Business Insider.

Meanwhile, a new analysis has concluded that North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month was much stronger than first thought.

Seismic data of the earthquake that resulted from the bomb test has been estimated at between 6.1 and 6.3 in magnitude, which means the force of the test was about 250 kilotons, according to the web journal 38 North, which is attached to the US-Korea Institute at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

This means the September 3 test may have been nearly 17 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, which helped to bring World War II to a close.