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Growing Resolve to Act on North Korean Threat

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U.S. Army
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In an increasingly politically toxic world, there is bipartisan and international support for stopping North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19, President Donald Trump said North Korea’s “reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.”

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict,” Trump said, calling on other nations to work with the U.S. to isolate North Korea “until it ceases its hostile behavior.”

Trump’s remarks came as Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley was meeting in Seoul, South Korea, at the Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

“The timing couldn’t be more uncanny,” Milley said of the conference that includes land force commanders from 28 nations. “North Korea lies 27 miles north of here, and they are clearly and unambiguously threatening their neighbors, flying missiles over Japan, provoking South Korea, and clearly and unambiguously threatening the United States.

“They don’t only threaten Japan, the United States and South Korea, they threaten the world,” Milley said. “It is absolutely critical that we all do everything humanly possible to avert an armed conflict to convince North Korea that their path of seeking nuclear weapons is the wrong path.”

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the North Korea regime under Kim Jong Un is “the single-greatest threat to American national security and to global security. Right now, we need all hands on deck and focused on the same objective.”

“The military options in the North Korea contingency are incredibly grim, and it's hard to overstate just how devastating a conflict on the Korean Peninsula would be. If this conflict escalates into a war, we could be measuring the cost in millions of lives lost,” Engel said at a committee hearing focused on options.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said, “While we should take a diplomatic approach to North Korea, the reality is that this regime will never be at peace with its people, its neighbors or us. And now is the time to apply that pressure.”

Royce said he is “pleased that the THAAD missile defense system has been fully deployed,” referring to the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile launchers stationed in South Korea.