The archers won’t surviveThe new foreign and security officials under hawkish U.S. President Donald Trump have turned decisively tougher on North Korea as it claims to be ready to blast off long-distance ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads capable of reaching U.S. territory.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington should come up with a “new approach to pro-actively address” threats from North Korea in its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that pose a direct threat to the United States. To address these concerns, the United States should “keep all options on the table, from the threat of military force to the willingness to remain open to diplomacy,” he said in a written answer to questions ahead of Senate confirmation hearing.
The last time Washington was so blunt about a possible attack on North Korea was in 2001 when the it learned of the regime’s uranium enrichment program.
Tillerson also mentioned the option of secondary sanctions to prevent further assistance to North Korea from China or others. Concerns about North Korea also dominated on Capitol Hill. James Inhofe, senior member on the U.S. Armed Services Committee, in a committee meeting earlier this week questioned U.S. capabilities in the Korean Peninsula should the U.S. military be preoccupied with engagements in the Middle East, as it cannot fight two wars at the same time.
Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, called for reinforcement in the capabilities to strike North Korean military facilities.
“Defense is not enough,” he said. “If you are not also able to kill the archers, we will never be able to catch enough arrows.”
The belligerent tone in Washington has been raised in response to nuclear saber-rattling from North Korea. Its leader, Kim Jong-un, in his New Year’s address, boasted that his country was in the final stages of building an ICBM capable of reaching the United States.
Beijing, meanwhile, helped little to contain Pyongyang. If the Kim dynasty crumbles, China would be flooded with refuges. North Korea must remember it is inviting doom should it continue. China, too, should be more engaged. Peace in the Korean Peninsula must be a priority.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 11, Page 26