January 30, 2018 11:23
Defense Minister Song Young-moo on Monday warned the North Korean regime would probably be wiped off the map if it uses nuclear weapons against the U.S. or South Korea.
Song was speaking at the sixth Fullerton Forum, a multilateral security conference, in Singapore.
But he added the regime probably knows that and is aware of its weaknesses in conventional warfare. Kim Jong-un's nuclear threat "is not something that will actually happen, but rather a propaganda strategy," he said.
Song added the time is long past when anybody can use their nuclear arsenal, no matter how powerful, and it would be "anachronistic" for the regime to think of using nuclear weapons.
Commenting on the possible redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea, he said Seoul will keep its denuclearization policy and improve its capability to deter nuclear proliferation.
Meanwhile, two U.S. lawmakers who visited South Korea and Japan in mid-January have warned of the possibility of the U.S. using a military option against North Korea.
Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat senator from Illinois, was quoted in the Atlantic magazine as saying in a recent speech, "Americans simply are not in touch with just how close we are to war on the Korean Peninsula."
As proof, she cited nuclear-powered U.S. submarines calling at South Korean ports, the deployment of three U.S. aircraft carriers in the western Pacific, and drills practicing infiltration of underground facilities in the North over the past few months.
The U.S. military is "beyond the training stage. They're at the getting ready for operational readiness state, with -- and I heard this time and time again -- hope that they never have to" fight, Duckworth said.
She found "all three of the major military actors -- American, Korean, and Japanese -- ...more ready [for war] than they've ever been."
And Ruben Gallego, a Democrat congressman from Arizona, warned, "We [could] trip ourselves into a war" no one wants if "for example, the North assumes one of our moves is a strike and they decide to do a preemptive strike."
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