U. S. Threatens Military Strike Against Korea

June 27, 2006

The U.S. military is moving ships and warplanes to the coast of North Korea, while public officials have been threatening "preemptive" missile strikes against the country.

On June 21, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. was activating its ballistic missile system for possible use against North Korea. It also said that former U.S. Defense Secretary William J. Perry had called on President Bush to launch a preemptive strike using cruise missiles against North Korea. "Diplomacy has failed, and we cannot sit by and let this deadly threat mature" Perry said. The U.S. ambassador to Japan, J. Thomas Schieffer, also stated that "all options are on the table" when asked if a military strike was being considered.

Over 30 warships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 new troops are in the region to participate in "wargames" targeting North Korea.

According to U.S. officials, such actions are a response to a "possible test-launch of a long-range missile" by North Korea. A number of U.S. and South Korean officials admit, however, that the test would probably be a space-satellite and not a missile (Washington Post, 6-21-06). One South Korean official noted he "doesn't understand why there is such fuss in other countries on this."

North Korea has asserted its sovereign right to test any missile, and has called for direct talks with the U.S. to resolve the crisis.

Han Song Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations stated on June 21: "North Korea as a sovereign state has the right to develop, deploy, test fire and export a missile. We are aware of the U.S. concerns about our missile test-launch. So our position is that we should resolve the issue through negotiations." The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told reporters that the U. S. rejected such talks.