November 01, 2017 13:11
The U.S. Congressional Research Service has laid out seven possible military options the U.S. could take to respond to the nuclear weapons threat from North Korea.
The CRS laid them out in a report titled "The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Military Options and Issues for Congress" last week. It also lists their benefits and drawbacks.
The first option is "maintaining the military status quo," which aims to bring the North to the dialogue table through diplomatic and economic pressure.
The second is "enhanced containment and deterrence" through the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, reinforcements of U.S. troops, and re-deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.
The report says, "Toward that end, some in South Korea, in particular, the Liberty Korea Party, have called for the re-deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons." But it adds that this option is unlikely to change the Kim Jong-un regime's attitude.
The third is "denying [North Korea] acquisition of delivery systems capable of threatening the United States," i.e. intercepting North Korean missiles during tests so that the regime cannot perfect the technology. But it adds there is no guarantee that all missiles can be intercepted.
The fourth is "eliminating ICBM facilities and launch pads" with bombs or cruise missiles, but this would invite counterattack.
The fifth is "eliminating nuclear facilities," but that depends on finding them all.
The sixth is "regime change" through the use of military force, which could spark a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula.
The last is "withdrawing U.S. military forces" from South Korea premised on the North's denuclearization.
The report makes no specific recommendation, adding, "These notional options are intended to help Congress appreciate the different possible ways force might be employed to accomplish the goal of denuclearizing of the Korean Peninsula."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com