U.S. looking at "all options" on North Korea as nuclear test looms

SEOUL Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:24am EDT

The United Nations Security Council meeting convenes in New York April 14, 2012. REUTERS/Allison Joyce

The United Nations Security Council meeting convenes in New York April 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Allison Joyce

Related Topics

SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States is looking at "all options" as it seeks to discourage North Korea from conducting a third nuclear test, a senior U.S. military officer said on Tuesday, days after a failed long-range rocket launch by the North that drew international condemnation.

The U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned reclusive North Korea for Friday's rocket launch and warned of further action if Pyongyang carries out a nuclear test, reflecting concern that it may follow a pattern it set in 2009 during its second nuclear test.

Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear said Washington had a range of options to consider in response to any further provocation by the North.

"I don't think it would be appropriate to comment on how we would pursue any future military operation, but I can tell you that with the alliance, that we are continually looking at all options," he said when asked whether a surgical strike on the North's nuclear test site was being considered.

The comments came as doubts were raised about the fate of a planned visit by international inspectors to the North's nuclear site after Pyongyang and Washington agreed in February to a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests in return for food aid.

That agreement fell apart when Pyongyang announced it would launch a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit, claiming its right to conduct space research. The West believed the launch was merely a ballistic missile test.

North Korea has revealed work on a uranium enrichment program, which arms experts said could give it a second path to building nuclear weapons after its plutonium-based program at Yongbyon nuclear complex was suspended under a 2005 international disarmament deal.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said former U.S. President Bill Clinton considered the possibility of a surgical strike on Yongbyon at the height of a nuclear crisis in 1994 before Pyongyang struck an energy deal with Washington to suspend nuclear activities.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (5)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Here we go again

Apr 17, 2012 5:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Here we go again

Apr 17, 2012 5:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BCerentano wrote:
If the US & South Korea announce plans to place US nuclear weapons near the DMZ unless North Korea disarms, China would make sure it happened ASAP. Enough of the ‘all options’ babbling.

Apr 17, 2012 6:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus