U.S. Warns of 'Calibrated' Response to N.Korea's Nuke Activities

  • By Roh Suk-jo

    May 26, 2020 11:19

    A senior U.S. official has warned of a "calibrated" response to any renewed nuclear activities by North Korea.

    The warning by White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien came in response North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's latest announcement of "new policies to further strengthen deterrence for a nuclear war."

    "North Koreans, if they want to reenter the world, if they want to have a great economy and we think they do, they are going to have to give up their nuclear program," O'Brien told CBS News. "We'll calibrate our response accordingly."

    But O'Brien added, "We've managed to avoid a conflict with North Korea over the last three and a half years." "We're watching all of the things that are coming out in North Korea both from public open source but also from the intelligence community," he added.

    An imaginary intercontinental ballistic missile is fired off in North Korea, in this grab from a video clip by the U.S. Air Force released in December 2019.

    Last week, Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, also warned of a "decisive response" if deterrence fails. He warned Washington's rivals and adversaries are aggressively developing nuclear and other capabilities that threaten America, its allies and partners alike.

    There are fears that North Korea will carry out fresh provocations in the wake of Kim's latest speech in a meeting of Workers Party bigwigs.

    Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Voice of America on Monday, "North Korea has a number of avenues to proceed both in the nuclear and missile programs," he said. "It can demonstrate visibly by starting of production of new fissile material: high enriched uranium and plutonium."

    "Preparations for future campaigns at the reprocessing plant will be visible in the satellite imagery strengthening the message sent," he said. "A nuclear test could certainly be [on] the cards, but with the number of tests already done, it may not be an attractive avenue to proceed," he added. "A long-range, intercontinental ballistic missile or space launch would serve for the purpose."

    On May 6, the National Intelligence Service here said a whale-class submarine and an underwater torpedo launch system have been spotted at a shipyard in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province. The sub is presumed to weigh 3,000 tons, an improved version of North Korea's 1,800-ton Romeo-class sub, and estimated to be capable of carrying three ballistic missiles.

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