US military officials said Pyongyang’s nuclear test would “change the game” and Washington was ready to respond on multiple fronts.
The US general in the Indo-Pacific Command said on September 30 that the prospect of North Korea’s seventh nuclear test was “a matter of great concern”.
“In response, we must first consult with our ally, South Korea, and take measures that will comply with our military doctrine of coordinated deterrence, which includes various means of total power. nation,” Admiral Sam Paparo, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, alluded to Washington’s ability to coordinate military, diplomatic and economic responses.
General Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the US Air Force in the Pacific, said North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons was particularly worrisome. He said that Pyongyang does not view nuclear weapons as a mere deterrent, which means that the North Korean leadership does not rule out the possibility of using such weapons.
“They’ve threatened to use those weapons against their neighbors and the US. Other nuclear-weapon states don’t say that. Everyone has to be careful,” he said.
General Wilsbach said it “wouldn’t be surprised” if Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon in the near future. He assessed that such step is meant to change the regional situation, which may cause concern for many countries, including China and Russia.
In the past week, North Korea has conducted four ballistic missile tests during the US Vice President’s visits to Japan and South Korea. This series of moves has made governments in the region, Washington and observers worried that Pyongyang is creating momentum for a nuclear weapons test.
The South Korean intelligence community assessed that North Korea’s nuclear test could take place between October 16 and November 7, the period leading up to the midterm elections in the United States. Preparations at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site have been completed.
North Korea has tested nuclear weapons six times since 2006, most recently in September 2017.
Name (Theo AFP)