“All options are on the table, undergoing refinement and further development,” said National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with respect to military operations to halt the North Korean government’s pursuit of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with nuclear warheads.
Speaking with ABC’s Martha Raddatz for This Week, McMaster also said that avoidance of military conflict was preferable in pursuit of the Trump administration’s objective to “denuclearize” North Korea’s government and stop its development of long-range missiles (emphasis added):
"This is a problem that has been passed down from multiple administrations. It’s really the consensus, with the president, our key allies in the region - Japan and South Korea, in particular - but also the Chinese leadership, that this problem is coming to a head. It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can short of a military option to resolve this peacefully."
"North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister said Friday that the Trump administration is more vicious and more aggressive than the Obama administration, saying that Trump’s aggressive tweets were making trouble.
Does the aggressive language increase the likelihood of conflict?"
Throughout the interview, McMaster suggested that Trump had been more successful in securing support from the Chinese government toward longstanding stated U.S. policy regarding North Korea than preceding presidents.
Cooperation from the Chinese government, suggested McMaster, was essential in pursuing a non-military approach to halting the North Korean government's pursuit of long-range nuclear weapons:
“North Korea is very vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese. Eighty percent of North Korea’s trade comes from China. All of their energy requirements are fulfilled by China.”
Last week, a Chinese state-run newspaper published an op-ed criticizing North Korea’s government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ICBMs. Chinese shipments of oil to North Korea might be “severely limited” if the North Korean government maintains its course.
This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 11, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) during a combat drill of the service personnel of the special operation battalion of the Korean People's Army Unit 525.
H/T Tim Hains at RealClearPolitics.
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