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Korea 'only way' to secure its nukes with certainty - Pentagon

09 November, 2017, 01:47 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump board Air Force One departing from Andrews Air Force Base Maryland

The report also said U.S. military leaders "assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons" and that President Kim Jong Un's regime "has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents".

Following the Pentagon report, 14 lawmakers - all Republicans except for one Democrat - joined Lieu and Gallego to urge Trump to quit making "provocative statements" about North Korea's leader that jeopardizes diplomatic efforts and puts United States troops at risk.

Rear Admiral Michael Dumont expressed the opinion on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a letter to Congressman Ted Lieu.

"Their assessment underscores what we've known all along: there are no good military options for North Korea", the statement said.

There are 28,500 United States troops in South Korea and Seoul is home to a population of 25 million people.

In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican- all military veterans - called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North's nuclear arsenal "deeply disturbing" and that such an action 'could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting'.

While an estimated 29,000 USA troops are deployed in South Korea, "It's important for people to understand what a war with a nuclear power would look like", said Lieu, who pointed to estimates of at least 300,000 dead on both sides within just the first few days.

The new findings come just as Donald Trump embarks on his first tour of Asia which is seeing him visit South Korea.

In terms of providing humanitarian assistance during or after conflict, Dumont said South Korea will have the primary responsibility for "post-conflict and transitional operations" on the Korean Peninsula. Trump has previously dismissed DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as a "little rocket man" on a suicide mission.

'No dictator, no regime, no nation should ever underestimate American resolve, ' Trump told hundreds of cheering USA and Japanese troops in camouflage uniforms gathered at Yokota Air Base, just west of Tokyo, soon after he arrived.

They said South Korea's promises that it will not deploy additional parts of the THAAD system, will not join the U.S. Missile Defense and will not expand its military alliance with the U.S. into a trilateral alliance including Japan amount to giving up sovereign rights.

Trump has taken to Twitter using strong verbal threats to dissuade Pyongyang from their continued efforts to produce a fully-functioning nuclear powered inter-continental ballistic missile. It was not pleasant for them, was it?' said Trump, who wore a leather bomber jacket as he addressed the troops.

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