LaCamera Warns of Possible Korean Crisis

LaCamera Warns of Possible Korean Crisis

THAAD in Korea
Photo by: U.S. Army

Miscalculation by North Korea’s leaders could quickly escalate into a global problem, the general in charge of U.S. Forces Korea warned.

“Such a conflict could immediately become a regional conflict and have a global impact, just as Russia’s war against Ukraine has,” Gen. Paul LaCamera said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

LaCamera, who also commands United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, testified that any conflict would be due to North Korea’s aggression, adding that he’s concerned about North Korea miscalculating or “believing they can control escalation.”

Additionally, “we must remember that [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and China have a mutual defense treaty, which is the only defense treaty DPRK and China have with any nation,” LaCamera said.

North Korea has renewed its threats of nuclear destruction against the U.S. and South Korea, LaCamera said, and “recently announced” policies indicate “a renewed interest to pursue nuclear delivery capabilities.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “believes a nuclear deterrent is the best means to preserve his regime and coerce the international community to lift sanctions,” LaCamera said. “He is determined to operationalize his nuclear arsenal and is developing a credible second-strike capability.”

Kim is “poised to conduct a seventh nuclear test,” LaCamera said. “Without outside influence, it is not a matter of if DPRK will detonate another nuclear device, but when.”

For the U.S., the best way to deter North Korea is through its “ironclad” commitment to the U.S.-South Korea alliance, “which has endured for almost 70 years,” LaCamera said.

The U.S. must never take for granted the alliance, he said. “This requires us to shape the strategic environment during armistice through continuous validation of our extended deterrence capabilities and combat readiness, which remain our current focus,” LaCamera said. “Our policy remains the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and deterring the use of nuclear weapons by the Kim regime.”

The threat posed by North Korea and the importance of building strong relationships with allies and partners in the region will be among the topics discussed at the Association of the U.S. Army’s LANPAC Symposium and Exposition May 16–18 in Honolulu.

For more information or to register, click here.