TEHRAN, April 30, YJC - North Korea “poses a grave threat” to the United States and its allies in the Northeast Asian region, National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster says, amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, McMaster said President Donald Trump has made clear he will resolve the issue of North Korea, which is acting in "open defiance of the international community."
"North Korea poses a grave threat to the United States, our great allies in the region, South Korea and Japan...but also to China and others. And so it's important, I think, for all of us to confront this regime," he said.
Tillerson made the remarks after US President Donald Trump warned that a "major conflict” with North Korea is "absolutely” possible in the ongoing standoff over its nuclear and missile programs.
"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters on Thursday.
The US has recently deployed US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a show of force. A nuclear submarine has also joined the strike group. The USS Michigan, which is a guided missile submarine, arrived in the port city of Busan, South Korea, earlier this week.
Pyongyang, in response, has carried out a large-scale live-fire artillery exercise, threatening the US with a nuclear attack in case of any breach of the country’s sovereignty. North Korean leaders have also indicated that weapon tests would continue more frequently.
The North has so far conducted five confirmed nuclear tests and numerous missile test-launches, and it is believed to be preparing for a sixth nuclear weapons test. On Saturday, North Korea conducted its most recent ballistic missile launch, which most likely failed.
"This regime that is pursuing the weaponization of a missile with a nuclear weapon. And so this is something that we know we cannot tolerate...The president has made clear that he is going to resolve this issue one way or another,” McMaster said during the interview.
McCain downplays threat of US strike
Meanwhile, Republican Senator John McCain downplayed on Sunday the possibility of a US attack against North Korea.
He told CNN that he that he doesn't think President Trump is planning a preemptive strike against North Korea.
"I think that we have to consider that option as the very last option. And for a number of reasons and one of the reasons is because there's artillery on the [demilitarized zone] that can strike Seoul, a city of 26 million people, and the carnage would be horrendous,” McCain continued.
Despite sanctions and international pressure, Pyongyang has been attempting to strengthen its military capability to protect itself from the threat posed by the presence of US forces in the region.
North Korea says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan, Presstv reported.
According to the US military’s recent declaration, the United States has 806 deployed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile), SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missile), and heavy bombers as well as 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads.
The Pentagon is also equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), a highly advanced version of the intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads.