Donald Trump administration ‘looking very seriously at North Korea military options’

Ben Riley-Smith
Donald Trump, the US president - AP

Donald Trump’s administration is “very seriously” considering military options for the North Korea nuclear stand-off, a Republican congressional chairman has revealed. 

Mac Thornberry, who heads up the House Armed Services Committee, told The Telegraph that officials we looking into ammunition and deployment issues linked to military involvement. 

He said such efforts were not being undertaken for “token” reasons but because it was “prudent” to make such preparations given the instability in the region. 

The comments suggest that Mr Trump's talk of a military option being ‘on the table’ to deal with the nuclear threat is not simply being used rhetorically. 

It comes after this newspaper revealed US officials were working up plans for a “bloody nose” military attack on North Korea to deter further nuclear development

Mac Thornberry, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was talking to the Defence Writers Group, which is linked to George Washington University. 

Kim Jong Un is projected on a screen behind an orchestra and choir during a performance in Pyongyang, North Korea Credit: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

Mr Thornberry was asked how seriously the US administration was looking at military options for solving the North Korea standoff. 

“I think the administration is very seriously looking at what would be involved with military options when it comes to North Korea. And options is plural,” Mr Thornberry said. 

“But you have to be serious about these things, you can’t just make a token effort. And being serious about it means working through logistics and ammunition and which forces would be required for which missions and when they needed to be there. It’s lots of detail.”

Mr Thornberry added: “I think they are very serious and that’s only prudent to do so. My favourite quote these days is from [George] Washington’s first state of the union, which said ‘to be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace’. 

“We have to be prepared for a Korean contingency and we need to show that we’re prepared. And I think that the military has those preparations underway and hopefully they will not be needed.”

People watch a TV news program showing the Twitter post of U.S. President Donald Trump while reporting North Korea's nuclear issue, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea Credit: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

The comments are likely to cause alarm among European allies who have been lobbying America officials to focus on diplomatic rather than military options. 

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, on Tuesday used a visit to Canada to warn the North Korea regime against further testing missiles and pursuing nuclear weapons. 

Mr Johnson said: “There can be no doubt that the crisis is intensifying, we had 20 tests within the last year, 20 missiles, two of which flew over Japan, and one testing of a nuclear device.

“It’s very important and encouraging that the world is not being intimidated or divided by the threat from North Korea.”

He added: “It’s great that conversations are taking place between North Korea and South Korea and great there is an Olympic truce, but I hope people will recognise that the program is continuing in North Korea and that Kim Jong-un continues with his illegal program.

“He can continue on the path of provocation and equipping his country with nuclear weapons that will lead to further escalation, further economic pain and hardship of his people or else he has an opportunity to go down a path that will lead to greater wellbeing for his people and a chance to emulate the astonishing achievements of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).”