May 16, 2018 09:22
The U.S. considered some 20 scenarios for military action against North Korea last year, when relations were at a nadir in the wake of the North's nuclear tests and missile launches, a senior government official here said Tuesday.
The official told reporters he had a long talk last October with an associate from the CIA's Korea Mission Center, a division that deals with the North Korean nuclear issue.
"At the time, I was surprised to hear that the 'military options' Washington was talking about were not an empty threat by American hardliners but actual preparations," he said.
"What surprised me most was that such a thing was discussed in detail."
"I'd thought of military options as things like the bombing of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities or a decapitation strike against North Korean leaders. But I heard that 20-odd military scenarios were under discussion over how to carry them out and how to react to each response from Pyongyang," he added.
The KMC was launched in May last year at the orders of U.S. President Donald Trump. It has a staff of 600 to 700, and its chief is "so trusted by Trump that he has an office in the White House," according to the official.
The KMC chief reportedly accompanied U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his two recent trips to Pyongyang.
"The KMC chief met Maeng Kyong-il, the deputy director of North Korea's United Front Department, in February, when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was here to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. They arranged a recent meeting between Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol, the director of the United Front Department," the official said.
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