US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering “utterly destroying” North Korea’s nuclear sites, a senior While House adviser has said.
A source told British diplomats that America could launch pre-emptive strikes and has the firepower to smash the rogue nation’s whole nuclear program, News Limited has reported.
The former official in the Bush administration, who knows of the Pentagon battle plans is quoted as saying: “Trump is pushing the Chinese hard, but in his gut he ultimately feels he will have to take a strong step himself”.
There are reports that Donald Trump is considering destroying all of North Korea’s nuclear sites. Photo: AP
“There are plans to destroy the missile sites and the military have strong confidence in what they know.
“They wouldn’t launch a pre-emptive strike if there is an underground nuclear explosion but they would if the president thought they were launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.”
Earlier, a White House national security adviser said North Korea’s missile test was provocative and the United States was working with its allies, including China, to develop a range of options.
“This latest missile test just fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilising and threatening behaviour on the part of the North Korean regime,” HR McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
“There is an international consensus now, including the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that just cannot continue.”
The United States, its allies and China are working together on a range of responses to North Korea’s latest attempted ballistic missile test, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says.
“We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options,” Mr McMaster said.
He said the president had asked the national security council to integrate the efforts of the defence and state departments and US intelligence agencies to develop options if “this pattern of behaviour continues and if the North Korean regime refuses to denuclearise.”
“There is an international consensus now, including the Chinese leadership, that this is a situation that just cannot continue,” McMaster said.
The North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” after its test launch on Sunday, the US Pacific Command said.
Hours later US Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms program, a day after a military parade in Pyongyang included what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles.
Reports North Korea will snatch westerners as hostages
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered his troops to snatch western tourists from South Korea and use them as hostages if the US attacks.
The rogue regime’s special forces are being trained to infiltrate their rival state, claims a former North Korean soldier who defected, News Corp has reported.
Ung-gil Lee, a former corporal who fled the tyrannical regime 11 years ago, told the Mail on Sunday of Kim Jong-un’s plan and advised the US not to attack unless it can kill the leader.
Kim has rebuffed admonitions from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programs seen by Washington as a direct threat.
Pence, addressing an Easter service with American troops in South Korea, said the US commitment to South Korea was unwavering.
The US nuclear-powered Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is heading to the region.
China has spoken out against North Korea’s weapons tests and has supported UN sanctions. It has repeatedly called for talks while appearing increasingly frustrated with the North.
China banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off its most important export.
Failed North Korean nuclear launch may have been sabotaged by US
Former UK Conservative Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has told the BBC it was possible that the failed missile either malfunctioned or was sabotaged by a US cyber attack.
“It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US – through cyber methods – has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail,” he told the BBC.
“But don’t get too excited by that, they’ve also had quite a lot of successful tests.
“They are an advanced country when it comes to their nuclear weapons program. That still remains a fact – a hard fact.”
Pyongyang has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, and regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and the US.
“The president has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons,” McMaster told ABC.
But McMaster, speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan, acknowledged the likelihood of North Korean retaliation if Washington uses military force in an attempt to stop its weapons programs.
“What (is) particularly difficult about – about dealing with this regime, is that it is unpredictable,” he said.
“It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully,” he said.
The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked. It has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland US but experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.
CREDIT: Damir Sagolj/Reuters