A senior Navy official familiar with the matter, said that the North Korea crisis has reached the most dangerous point he has ever seen. Adm. Harry Harris Jr said that White House sources told him “all options [were] on the table,” which include a military intervention.
Kim Jong Un Likely to Strike U.S.
The admiral refused to liken the conflict to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Harris who is commander of U.S. Pacific Command made the revelations in a Senate hearing Thursday.
He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he is positive the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to attack the American mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile. The U.S. spy agencies do not yet know how much time the U.S. has left before Kim has the capabilities of performing the strike. Harris thinks it is no longer a matter of if but of when.
The U.S. reportedly plans to make use of all its options including a military strike to prevent the communist regime from attacking it and its allies in the Pacific. Nevertheless, the U.S. doesn’t plan to go for a preemptive strike just yet.
The administration is currently working with China to put extra pressure on the hermit state. China is North Korea’s major trade partner.
Trump’s White House voiced hope that with help from its international allies, the U.S. could pressure North Korea economically and diplomatically like never before. The U.S. hopes to persuade Pyongyang to halt the development of its nuclear arsenal within months.
Top Diplomat Confirms Severity of Situation
Acting top U.S. envoy for East Asia Susan Thornton said the U.S. wants to test North Korea “to the maximum extent” to see whether it is willing to cease its arms programs. The U.S. thinks the tactics is the only way for a peaceful resolution.
However, military action remains one of the options, according to the diplomat. Thornton confirmed the White House sees the security challenge as its worst at the moment, and said that “all options are on the table.” Thornton added that Washington wants a peaceful resolution rather than a regime change.
On Wednesday, The White House briefed 100 Senators on the North Korea situation in an emergency meeting. Trump’s national security team which discussed with the lawmakers did not mention military action in a later public statement. They did say that the U.S. will defend itself and its allies in the region.
Harris told the Senate panel that the financial sanctions the U.S. and China have imposed on the communist-run country did not slow down its nuclear research program.
The admiral doesn’t think China is a reliable ally in the crisis, but added that he is “cautiously optimistic” about China’s commitment after the encounter between Trump and the Chinese president. Nonetheless, he said he wouldn’t “bet his farm on” the Chinese’s help.
Harris thinks the U.S. should seek to bring North Korea’s leader to “his senses, not to his knees” as his nuclear power ambitions took a heavy toll on his people. The admiral hopes North Koreans will eventually topple the leader, whom many of them see as a “god king”.
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