Pentagon Steps Up North Korea Military Planning

Without a doubt, the talks are a major breakthrough in the nuclear impasse, but to be clear, it’s only in the very beginning stages. Although it’ll seem hypocritical to many after seeing high-level talks will happen, Washington is laying down its insurance policy. There is no guarantee that anything will come to fruition with the talks, and second, there’s no guarantee Kim Jong-un won’t use this for only his benefit like Russia, China and Iran do. They make treaties to break them because they know the United States will commit to its obligations.

It’s in America’s blood to take the moral high road in this sense. The axis powers know no morality in cases like this and use deals to extract concessions. They are users and manipulators, not cooperators. A majority of the public doesn’t see this, however, due to good propaganda that projects the ideal positive spotlight on them that they want.

 

North Korean threats to turn the South Korean capital of Seoul into a “sea of fire” are not propaganda, the Senate Armed Services Committee was told. (Associated Press/File)

 

The Pentagon is intensifying military planning for war on the Korean Peninsula despite the apparent thaw between North Korea and the United States over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile program.

Pentagon officials say the military planning has increased in recent weeks and involves reworking and refining Op Plan 5027, as the war plan for a conflict against North Korea is called.

The activity is being done by planners in the Pentagon in coordination with officials from U.S. Forces Korea, the military command in South Korea. The objective is to determine how best to execute President Trump’s order to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program.

The stepped-up planning comes as Pyongyang signaled this week that it is ready to hold talks with the United States and South Korea on its nuclear program.

Current administration policy toward North Korea is to impose maximum diplomatic and financial pressure, resulting in dozens of new economic and financial sanctions on the regime of Kim Jong-un in a bid to force him to back down. Intelligence officials assess that the sanctions are beginning to have an impact on North Korea’s already weak economy.

Mr. Trump took credit for the latest overture and tweeted on Tuesday that the response indicated “possible progress.” But he also said the United States remains ready to use force.

“For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned,” the president tweeted. “The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!”

Pre-emptive U.S. military action is widely viewed as producing devastation for South Korea and possibly Japan, which both have U.S. military bases, and could quickly escalate to a nuclear exchange. North Korea’s military readiness was discussed on Capitol Hill at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said North Korean threats to turn the South Korean capital of Seoul into a “sea of fire” are not propaganda.

“I’m not sure of the phrase, but it would be a significant amount of casualties,” Gen. Ashley said.

Asked about North Korean troops’ military readiness, the three-star general said: “We’ve watched their winter training exercises. They’ve shown a level of discipline and expertise.”

“Kim Jong-un is far different from his father in the level of rigor that they’ve applied to their training regime to make sure their crews are ready,” Gen. Ashley said.

WHITE HOUSE DOUBTS ON NORTH KOREA TALKS

A senior administration official told reporters this week that North Korea’s latest overture on resuming nuclear talks is being viewed cautiously by White House national security officials. The main worry is that the North Koreans will engage in nuclear talks solely as a means of reducing the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Pyongyang.

The administration of President George W. Bush made concessions in a bid to coax the North Koreans into denuclearizing, including lifting some sanctions and removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The North Koreans pocketed the concessions and eventually walked away from the talks — all the while building up its nuclear warheads and missiles.

CHINA’S NEW AIR-LAUNCHED MISSILES

In addition to hundreds of road-mobile and silo-based missiles of different sizes, ranges and trajectories, China is also developing a nuclear-armed ballistic missile fired from underneath a bomber.

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley made the unusual disclosure of the air-launched ballistic missiles in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“The [People’s Liberation Army] is also developing and fielding numerous advanced, long-range land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, some capable of reaching supersonic speeds, and operated from ground, air, ship and submarine platforms,” Gen. Ashley stated. “These capabilities are being augmented with two new air-launched ballistic missiles, one of which may include a nuclear payload.”

Air-launched ballistic missiles are new weapons for the Chinese. Most air-launched missiles are either air-to-air weapons or air-to-surface bombs or cruise missiles. Launching a ballistic missile from an aircraft could provide long-range conventional or nuclear-strike capabilities not provided by ground-based or sea-based platforms.

To deter North Korean aggression against South Korea or Japan, and Chinese aggression against Taiwan, it is urgent for the United States to develop and deploy new tactical nuclear arms to Asia, he added.

Full article: Pentagon Steps Up North Korea Military Planning (The Washington Times)

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