Yonhap — WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) — The United States has been assessing some military options on North Korea, and they will be a topic when Vice President Mike Pence visits South Korea next week, a senior administration official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity during a background briefing to preview Pence’s trip, declined to elaborate on what military options are being assessed, including if they are defensive measures or include a preemptive strike.
But the remark underscores the seriousness with which the U.S. sees the situation on the Korean Peninsula amid heightened concern that the communist nation could conduct what would be its sixth nuclear test at any time.
Tensions spiked further as the U.S. has redirected an aircraft carrier strike group led by USS Carl Vinson to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a massive show of force designed to warn Pyongyang not to undertake any provocations.
“We’ve got some military options already being assessed, but we’ll work that as we sit down in discussions with General Brooks, the commander there on peninsula,” the official said, referring to Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of some 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea.
The official also said that President Donald Trump and Pence have been in close collaboration with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and other top security officials with regard to military options not only for South Korea and the region, but with “particular emphasis on the belligerency of North Korea.”
“We are not going to telegraph future potential moves one way or the other when it comes to military or national security issues. That’s just not something in a public area that we’re just going to engage in at any time,” the official said when asked to elaborate on military options.
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