United States and South Korea stage bombing drills over peninsula

Kristopher Drake
September 23, 2017

While US officials have long said the military maintains a full range of options for dealing with North Korea, the notion of shooting down a missile has largely centered on conducting an operation if the missile were to directly threaten the US or its allies.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the USA has not yet shot down any North Korean missiles because they have not posed a threat to the United States or its allies.

U.S. President Donald Trump has hinted that any use of lethal force against North Korea would be overwhelming, using phrases like "fire and fury" that evoke images of nuclear war.

In remarks to reporters at the Pentagon, Mattis said Monday that if the missiles were perceived as a threat, "that would elicit a different response from us".

The idea of shooting down a missile even if it is not a direct threat is not new.

Trump is scheduled to join Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a working lunch Thursday in NY, on the sidelines of the United Nations meetings, to discuss North Korea, White House aides said.

The three leaders will also meet over lunch.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated in a September 12 press briefing that while "China can do more" when it comes to North Korea, its shift in stance to back the resolutions of the UN Security Council is "significant".

The latest missile trials from North Korea are also recalled.

South Korea's on the very front line. "Some people have fallen for that and immediately echoed the suggestion, pointing to the failure of past sanctions to achieve their goal", it said in an editorial. However, as tensions grow and as North Korea becomes more aggressive, should this change?

Trump told the U.N. General Assembly this week that the US will have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if the North continues to threaten the USA and its allies, including Asian neighbors South Korea and Japan.

Trump stopped short of going after North Korea's biggest trading partner, China, and praised its central bank for ordering Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.

"We have open dialogue with our allies on any issue that they want to bring up", he said.

Earlier this month, Mnuchin warned China that if it did not follow through on new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang, Washington would "put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and global dollar system".

"So, yes, it's working", he said.

"Today, we estimate that around 200,000 children are affected by acute malnutrition, heightening their risk of death and increasing rates of stunting", Hulshof said. As a result, the United States must "make sure all options are under development", he said on ABC's "This Week".

Analysts have said the North has shown rapid improvements in its ballistic missile and nuclear technologies. The most recent regulations capped fuel supplies to the state.

That has accelerated the urgency in Washington, at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

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