Four out of 10 Americans favor air raid on the North

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Four out of 10 Americans favor air raid on the North

Four out of 10 Americans support a possible air raid on nuclear facilities in North Korea, according to the results from a survey of 2,020 Americans, released Monday by Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA).

“Forty percent favor conducting airstrikes against North Korea’s nuclear production facilities,” the survey said, while another 28 percent support sending in U.S. troops to “destroy North Korea’s nuclear facilities.”

More Republicans were found to support possible airstrikes and sending in U.S. forces to North Korea to destroy its nuclear facilities: 54 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats support airstrikes, and 37 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats support sending in U.S. troops.

As many as 75 percent of those surveyed said they see North Korea’s nuclear program as “a critical threat facing the United States,” a sharp increase from 60 percent last year and 55 percent in 2015.

The CCGA also said that the American public’s support for sending U.S. troops to the Korean Peninsula in case of a North Korean invasion also increased compared to previous surveys. In this year’s survey, 62 percent said they support this option, an increase from 47 percent in 2015, and 26 percent in 1990.

When it comes to accepting North Korea as a nuclear state in exchange for its guarantee that it will stop producing more nuclear weapons, only 21 percent of Americans surveyed said they support this option.

On the contrary, 76 percent said stronger sanctions need to be implemented, with 84 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats saying they support this option. The option of placing sanctions on Chinese banks and companies connected to North Korea was also supported by 68 percent of those surveyed.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Tuesday that the United States and South Korea may consider revising the guidelines on the size of missile warheads South Korea can develop.

“It is a topic under active consideration here and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea,” he said. “We have the ability to adapt and we will always adapt to the threat as it changes.”

In his phone conversation with President Donald Trump on Monday, President Moon Jae-in asked for his assistance in revising the bilateral missile guidelines, which prohibit Seoul from developing a ballistic missile with a range of over 800 kilometers (497 miles) and a payload of over 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds). Seoul wants to raise the cap to 1,000 kilograms so that its missiles can be more effective against North Korean threats.

North Korea conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test for the second time on July 28.

BY KIM HYUN-KI, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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