USA considers shooting down NK missiles that don't pose a direct threat

Posted September 23, 2017

Military options available to the United States range from non-lethal actions such as a naval blockade to enforce sanctions to waging cyber attacks and positioning new USA weaponry in South Korea, where the United States has 28,500 troops.

On July 4, North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it claims could reach "anywhere in the world" and conducted a second test on July 28. But the liberal-leaning government of President Moon Jae-in said it has no intention of requesting that the US bring back such weapons.

South Korea and the United States, and separately Russian Federation together with China, started military drills on Monday, in a show of force against North Korea.

Mattis discussed several aspects of the North Korea crisis in an impromptu exchange with reporters at the Pentagon, including the effect of global economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.

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US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping committed to "maximizing pressure on North Korea", the White House said Monday, amid an escalating crisis over Pyongyang's ballistic and nuclear weapons programs.

In Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said China and Russia began naval drills off the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, not far from the Russia-North Korea border.

Friday's missile test occurred four days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted tough new sanctions that included a cap on oil imports, a ban on textile experts and other measures.

The discussion of whether to shoot down a North Korean missile comes as United States intelligence has assessed that North Korea's KN-17 (Hwasong 12) intermediate range ballistic missile has proven so successful in recent flight tests that Pyongyang now counts on it as part of its strategic deterrence against the U.S., according to a USA official familiar with the latest intelligence analysis.

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"We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point", Haley told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

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

A Swedish arms watchdog says the global number of nuclear warheads dropped a year ago, but it seems China, India, North Korea and Pakistan are expanding the size of their atomic arsenals. "In addition, all children had access to the (North Korean internal) Intranet", the summary said. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime".

Experts believe that the purported U.S. military options could range from non-lethal actions such as a naval blockade and cyberattacks to a more extensive USA military presence in South Korea, where 28,500 United States troops are already stationed. Long gas lines forming in North Korea.

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Any conflict on the Korean peninsula could lead to bloodshed unseen since the 1950-53 Korean War, which took the lives of more than 50,000 Americans and millions of Koreans and ended in an armed truce, not a peace treaty.