Dozens of retired military leaders from across the services are writing to Trump to urge him not to start a conflict with North Korea, and instead to choose diplomacy.“The current approach taken by the United States is failing to stop North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile technology,” states the letter, which will be sent to the White House on Wednesday. “The United States must initiate and lead an aggressive, urgent diplomatic effort to freeze North Korean nuclear and missile development and reduce regional tensions.”
We’ve said from the diplomatic side we’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we’re ready to have the first meeting without precondition. Let’s just meet and let’s – we can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face? And then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work towards. I don’t think – it’s not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program. They have too much invested in it. And the President is very realistic about that as well.
No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s offer to begin talks with Pyongyang any time and without pre-conditions.“Given North Korea’s most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time,” a White House official told Reuters.
Our policy on #DPRK has not changed. Diplomacy is our top priority through our maximum pressure campaign. We remain open to dialogue when North Korea is willing to conduct a serious & credible dialogue on the peaceful denuclearization, but that time is not now.— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) December 14, 2017
Even if an American first strike knocked out North Korea’s nuclear capacity, millions of South Korean civilians, and American and South Korean soldiers, would be vulnerable to retaliation with conventional or chemical weapons. Pyongyang could devastate Seoul and kill tens of thousands of people….To plan a surprise, the United States would have to make as few visible preparations as possible. Washington could not significantly increase its forces in the region without raising alarms in the North. The South Koreans would have to be kept in the dark, and they could make no preparations for war. Nor could American civilians be alerted and evacuated from South Korea. Any preparations would have to be masked behind other more normal activities such as training exercises….The complexity, risks and costs of a military strike against North Korea are too high. A combination of diplomacy and deterrence, based on the already impressive strength of South Korean and United States conventional and nuclear forces, is a wise alternative.