(NationalSentinel) War: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson didn’t mince words Thursday when discussing potential U.S. options for feisty, mouthy North Korea: All of them are on the table, including the military option.
In fact, Tillerson said, that may even include a “preemptive strike” at a time of Washington’s choosing. Why? Because “diplomacy has failed” to reign in Pyongyang’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and the ICBM on which to deliver them.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is considering “all options” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat while criticizing China over moves to block a missile-defense system on the peninsula.
In some of his most detailed comments yet on North Korea, Tillerson ruled out a negotiated freeze of its nuclear weapons program and called for a wider alliance to counter Kim Jong Un’s regime. He also left the military option on the table if the North Korean threat gets too large.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons programs to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson told reporters on Friday on a trip to South Korea when asked about the possibility of a military strike. He ruled out talks with North Korea until it commits to giving up its nuclear weapons.
In Asia this weekend, Tillerson will have these discussions with South Korea, Japan and even China, the North’s erstwhile ally, which Pyongyang has even mocked in recent weeks. Fearing a potential conflict in its back yard, Beijing has warned its smaller neighbor to cease and desist its ballistic missile testing.
Tillerson put some of the onus on China for its opposition to the deployment of U.S. anti-missile systems in South Korea.
“While we acknowledge China’s opposition, its economic retaliation against South Korea is inappropriate and troubling,” Tillerson said. “We ask China to refrain from such actions. Instead we urge China to address the threat that makes Thaad necessary, that being the escalating threat from North Korea.”
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The problem with North Korea is the same it’s always been: A large armed force that has tremendous first-strike capability, but little sustained combat power due to a poor logistics chain. That first strike, though, would be immense: The North has deployed something like 10,000 artillery pieces and rocket batteries along its border, 35 miles from the South’s capital of Seoul. Large sections of the city, one of the most densely populated in the world, would burn, and people would surely die.
But once the North has unleashed it stockpile or artillery rounds, it has little capacity to replace them before the U.S.-South Korean counter-attack that would certainly follow. Would it’s leader, Kim Jong Un, really risk destruction of his country and his regime?
Maybe, and that’s what Tillerson appears to understand.
Solving the “North Korea problem” seems to be on President Donald J. Trump’s radar, as his secretary of state has made clear. The only question now seems to be when.