U.S. Said to Treat North Korea as Nuclear Adversary in Contingency Plans

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
April 25, 2014, 7:41 a.m.

In its con­tin­gency plan­ning, Wash­ing­ton for the first time is treat­ing North Korea as a nuc­le­ar-armed op­pon­ent, the New York Times re­por­ted on Thursday.

Spe­cif­ics about the most re­cent re­vi­sion of the “OpPlan 5029” strategy for a po­ten­tial new Korean War are clas­si­fied. Some uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cials talked to the news­pa­per about as­pects of the “what-if” scen­ari­os, which ima­gine a pos­sib­il­ity for Py­ongy­ang to build a simple atom­ic weapon and at­tempt to de­liv­er it by ship or truck.

The de­vel­op­ment comes as Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies in East Asia stead­fastly re­fuse to char­ac­ter­ize North Korea as a nuc­le­ar-armed state.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials do not think Py­ongy­ang has de­veloped the abil­ity to mini­atur­ize nuc­le­ar arms enough to fit on a bal­list­ic mis­sile. The North, however, could make head­way in that re­spect if it test-det­on­ates a fourth atom­ic device — as ap­pears in­creas­ingly likely.

Be­hind closed doors, Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials are ac­know­ledging the long­time policy of “stra­tegic pa­tience” to­ward North Korea has been un­suc­cess­ful, the Times re­por­ted.

“We have failed,” Evans Revere, a former seni­or of­fi­cial for East Asi­an is­sues in the George W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, said in an in­ter­view. “For two dec­ades our policy has been to keep the North Koreans from de­vel­op­ing nuc­le­ar weapons. It’s now clear there is no way they will give them up. … So now what?”

A re­cent at­tempt by the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil to de­vel­op a new plan for end­ing the North Korea nuc­le­ar im­passe came up empty when it was de­term­ined that all oth­er po­ten­tial policy de­vi­ations were worse than the cur­rent pos­ture, ac­cord­ing to the Times.

“We’re stuck,” said one in­di­vidu­al who took part in the re­view.

A move by ruler Kim Jong Un to fo­cus more on mo­bile mis­siles in­stead of sta­tion­ary ones has meant the United States has a harder time de­tect­ing when a mis­sile fir­ing is im­min­ent. The launch­ers are routinely moved between tun­nels, mak­ing them harder to mon­it­or by satel­lite, de­fense of­fi­cials said.

“He’s gone to school on how we op­er­ate,” said Army Gen. Curtis Scapar­rotti, who com­mands U.S. forces on the Korean Pen­in­sula.

What We're Following See More »
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
16 hours ago
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
19 hours ago
Trump Rails On Obamacare
19 hours ago

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Trump Goes After The Media
19 hours ago

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
20 hours ago

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.