September 19, 2016 09:11
A former U.S. military leader has called for a preemptive strike on North Korea to prevent further provocations after its fifth nuclear test earlier this month.
Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was speaking at a seminar hosted by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations on Friday.
Mullen said it would be possible to launch a preemptive strike on the North if it comes "very close" to being capable of attacking the U.S. The strike could in theory destroy North Korean missile launch pads, he said.
He claimed the North has miniaturized nuclear warheads to the point that it could attack the U.S. and a preemptive strike was one of several options to respond to its provocations. But a diplomatic source warned that a preemptive strike "could lead to a military intervention by China and Russia."
During the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1994, the Clinton administration in the U.S. considered precision bombing of the North's nuclear facility in Yongbyon, but the idea was dropped in the face of opposition from then President Kim Young-sam, who feared a full-scale war.
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