If North Korea follows through with an expected nuclear test launch this weekend, Washington has said it would respond with conventional weapons.
According to a report from NBC News, the Pentagon has stated it is prepared to preemptively launch Tomahawk cruise missiles from ships stationed nearby North Korea, and bombers are standing by ready to conduct airstrikes on North Korea if necessary. The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is also stationed in the Pacific, ready to deploy any fighters as part of a retaliation plan for a nuclear test from Pyongyang.
However, conducting such an attack could prove costly, as the rogue nation has stated it won’t hesitate to use nuclear weapons if provoked, most likely against U.S. allies in the region like South Korea or Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s regime does not currently have weapons capable of reaching the mainland United States.
“We have to have nuclear weapons to protect our country, and it’s our policy to go nuclear,” North Korean official Lee Yong Pil told NBC News.
While tensions are high, the U.S. has told South Korea that it would be included in any discussion about a potential military response prior to any strikes taking place.
“U.S. officials, mindful of such concerns here, repeatedly reaffirmed that (the U.S.) will closely discuss with South Korea its North Korea-related measures,” South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung said in a special parliamentary meeting. “In fact, the U.S. is working to reassure us that it will not, just in case that we might hold such concerns.”
While Trump frequently criticized China’s handling of North Korea while on the campaign trail, he recently showed a change of heart after a ten-minute conversation about the belligerent state with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.