Ex-U.S. ambassador: ‘No good military options’ against North Korea

A photograph released by the North Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) watching the test of a high-thrust rocket engine March 18 at the Sohae satellite launching facility in North Pyongan Province. Photo by KCNA/EPA

March 26 (UPI) — The United States has “no good military options” against North Korea, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea said in an interview Sunday.

Instead, the only real alternative is cooperation with China, Christopher Hillsaid in an interview on New York’s AM 970.

“There are no good military options,” Hill, the ambassador to South Korea from 2004-05 during the George W. Bush administration, said. “You know, we’ve done a lot on sanctions. It’s the most sanctioned country in the world — that hasn’t worked. We tried to have negotiations with them — that hasn’t worked. But I think what could work is a much better understanding between the U.S. and China.”

Hill, who served as ambassador to Iraq from 2009-2010 in the Obama administration, is concerned about the nuclear threat by North Korea.

“In the last few years, North Korea’s threat has really grown,” he said. “Now we are seeing them modernize their missile arsenal such that it’s quite likely in the near future … North Korea will have a deliverable nuclear weapon. And then the question is, what are we all going to do about that?”

Hill, during the radio interview, said, “we are going to have to thicken up our defense of South Korea … and I think we are going to have to really work more with China.”

On Wednesday, North Korea test-fired a missile. U.S. officials said it was a failure as it exploded seconds after it was launched.

“Placing large emphasis on single tests is probably unwise,” said Karl Dewey, a proliferation editor at Jane’s Intelligence Review, told NBC News. “Until we know more about the missile type and design objectives, it’s probably too soon to start speculating on how this failure informs this picture.”

And Fraser Cameron, director of the EU-Asia Center, a think tank based in Belgium, also told NBC it’s unlikely to deter Kim Jong Un from “pursuing his nuclear ambitions.”

A broadcast from a state-run KRT warned of a preemptive strike against the United States.

“Our military declares our stand to mercilessly smash all of our enemy’s moves with our own preemptive special operation and attack, as the wicked plan for the U.S. and South Korean war maniacs’ special operations aiming at our supreme leader is becoming apparent,” the report said.

The report warned the United States of its involvement in South Korea: “They should keep in mind that our military will carry out annihilating attack at anytime without any prior warning.”

North Korea is estimated to have between eight and 10 nuclear weapons, a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News.

“He has had more missile tests in the past four years than all of the previous years combined,” Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research organization based in Washington, D.C., said to NBC.

Since the 1970s, the country has test-fired short and medium-range missiles intended to hit South Korea and even Japan.

The United States is working with South Korea to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, to counter a threat of attack from North Korea.

“I wouldn’t want to be Donald Trump in 2020 and have to say … we couldn’t do anything,” Hill said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here