McMaster on North Korea: 'There Is a Military Option'


Top White House officials on Friday said there is a military option to deal with North Korea after the regime launched a second ballistic missile over Japan in less than a month.

National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley responded to North Korea's longest-ever flight test of a ballistic missile during a briefing with reporters at the White House.

"What's different about this approach is that we're out of time," McMaster said. "We've been kicking the can down the road and we're out of road. ... There is a military option. Now, it's not what we prefer to do."

McMaster didn't specify what the military option or response could be. The risks for such action have heightened since North Korea this month claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb, or thermonuclear weapon, for the first time.

Haley, who this week helped push through the U.N. Security Council the toughest sanctions yet against North Korea, acknowledged the economic restrictions didn't go far enough.

U.S. President Donald Trump, for example, has called for China and Russia to completely cut off North Korea's oil supply.

"What we are seeing is that they continue to be provocative," Haley said, referring to the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un. "They continue to be reckless."

She added, "There's not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here -- when you've [already] cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil. So having said that, I have no problem kicking it to Gen. Mattis because I think he has plenty of options."

Haley was referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general, who said North Korea's latest missile launch "put millions of Japanese into duck and cover," Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters while traveling to Mexico, Mattis later said of North Korea, "I think they're deepening their isolation, economic and diplomatic. Right now, I don't have any more forensics on it. That takes us a little while as we amass everything and analyze it," according to DefenseOne.

The intermediate-range ballistic missile traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, The Associated Press reported.

That's farther than the distance to Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, installations that house everything from strategic bombers to attack submarines.

Trump was scheduled to speak later in the day at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C., against a backdrop of military aircraft, including the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and fifth-generation stealth fighters F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor -- all of which are designed to penetrate enemy air defenses.

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