The Strategist

USA aims Tomahawk at Pyongyang

04/14/2017 - 16:02

US President Donald Trump's administration is considering a possibility of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, which is presumably preparing for a new nuclear test. NBC reported this referring to their sources in the intelligence channel. Pyongyang, meanwhile, is accusing the US of causing tension: the new tests will be held "in the place and at the time, when and where the country’s leadership deems necessary."

99th RRSC, United States Army
99th RRSC, United States Army
According to US intelligence, North Korea can hold the sixth nuclear test this weekend. Often they are timed to some holidays or memorable dates. On Saturday, the DPRK the will be celebrating Kim Il Sung’s birthday. Pyongyang will host a festive procession with participation of tens of thousands of people, as well as a military parade. In addition, the holiday is timed to coincide with an opening ceremony of "a new showcase street with multi-storey residential buildings". In an interview with AP, Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK, Han Song Ryol, did not specify whether the expanded "celebration program" includes a nuclear test, saying only: "It will happen in the place and at the time and when the country’s leadership deems it necessary."

Nevertheless, the US and its neighbors in the region are preparing for a possible nuclear test. Now a group of ships, led by aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, is patrulling off the coast of the Korean peninsula. In addition, NBC television channel reports that two destroyers of the US Navy have been stationed in the reach of the North Korean nuclear test site, which could be used to strike attacks using Tomahawk cruise missiles. Recall, on April 7, these missiles were used for air strikes against Syria. The US bombers, which are based on the island of Guam, may also be involved in the operation.

A week ago, the same NBC television channel reported that the US National Security Council handed a report to President Donald Trump about a possible reaction of Washington to a nuclear threat from North Korea. The proposed measures included a possibility of placing nuclear weapons in South Korea and even physical elimination of the DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-un and people from his closest associates.

The Pentagon does not comment on such information in detail. The agency’s representative, Dana White, said only that "the command staff always considers the full range of options in unforeseen circumstances." At the same time, she added that the United States reaffirmed its obligations to protect allies, including South Korea and Japan.

"We already have powerful nuclear deterrents at our disposal, and we, of course, will not sit idly in the face of a preemptive strike by the United States. We will fight if this is their choice", said Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK, Han Song Ryol, and added:" After Donald Trump arrived in the White House, the US policy has become more vicious and aggressive".  

Analysts believe that North Korea can arrange another nuclear test on the 105th anniversary of the birth of the country's first leader, Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of incumbent leader Kim Jong-un, who will be held on Saturday, April 15. There is a possibility that Pyongyang will mark this date with a demonstration of military power.

As noted by NYT, this could be the sixth and, perhaps, the most powerful explosive test of the DPRK in a decade.


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