North Korea has reportedly launched an
unidentified projectile to the sea, off the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday.
The unknown projectiles were confirmed by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday morning, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea, suggested that the projectiles were probably launched by a submarine, given the proximity to a known North Korean submarine base, The Washington Post reported.
The launch takes place the same day senior White House officials delivered a stern message on North Korea’s nuclear program.
“The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table,” the official said in a CNN report.
The warning came from two senior White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, during the pivotal time when President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his estate in Florida later this week.
The officials also pointed toward the failure of prior administration’s efforts to curb the growing threat of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and said that North Korea is a “matter of urgent interest for the President and the administration as a whole.”
Additionally, the officials said they planned on pursuing a way to influence China — North Korea’s closest ally — into restraining North Korea’s ambitions.
The comments from the officials echoed the same tone as Jack Keane, a four-star US Army general who declined a cabinet position from Trump.
“A pre-emptive strike against launch facilities, underground nuclear sites, artillery and rocket response forces and regime leadership targets may be the only option left on the table,” Keane said to The Times of London. “We are rapidly and dangerously moving towards a military option.”
In an interview with The Financial Times earlier this week, Trump also mentioned that the US would act unilaterally to stop North Korea if China did not.
“China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump said. “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
After Financial Times published its interview with Trump on Sunday, Gen. John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, was quick to assure that any option to address North Korea’s nuclear program would have to involve China.
“Any solution to the North Korean problem has to involve China,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, according CNN’s report. “I’ll provide those military options [to the president] … I look at it from a strategic perspective and I can’t see a solution that doesn’t involve China.”
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