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Published: Mon, March 06, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

White House Weighs Military Action Against North Korea

White House Weighs Military Action Against North Korea

Soon after ex-President Obama ordered the secret program three years ago, North Korean missiles began exploding, veering off course or crashing into the sea, the newspaper said Saturday.

Earlier this week a senior administration official who may or may not be Donald Trump himself told CNN that the president considers North Korea the "greatest immediate threat" to the U.S. They noted that the president told a Chinese official on Monday, "You gotta work on North Korea".

Advocates of such efforts say they believe that targeted attacks have given United States anti-missile defences a new edge and delayed, by several years, the day when North Korea will be able to threaten United States cities with nuclear weapons launched atop intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, both South Korea and the U.S. have rejected the allegations and say that the exercise is purely for defence purposes and to enhance combat readiness. Although its military is antiquated, the North is assumed to be capable of inflicting massive damage on Seoul, which lies just 50 km from the border, using conventional artillery alone.

The military drills are being held in the wake of the February 13 assassination in Malaysia of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the North's test of a medium-range missile in February.

Last May, Stratfor published an analysis of potential "minimalist" strike options targeting the country's nuclear facilities. The U.S.is embarking on joint military drills with South Korea.

Scott Synder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Diplomat that Washington was feeling unprecedented urgency about the possibility of North Korea acquiring a direct nuclear strike capability against the country.

Snyder, however, cautioned that Trump's consideration of military action did not mean he would act on it, noting that the strategy review also reportedly contains diplomatic options such as recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state. The Japanese found the idea "worrisome", according to the source.

North Korea has condemned the start of annual US-South Korean military drills with fiery rhetoric, threatening to "mercilessly foil the nuclear war racket of the aggressors with its treasured nuclear sword".

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