A nuclear war with North Korea is not first choice for US: experts

The United States would rely on negotiation and sanctions to curb North Korea's nuclear ambition, rather than starting a nuclear war with the isolated country, according to experts.

Going to war with North Korea is not the top choice for the US, as the tensions in the Korean Peninsula grow, David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and David Kang, a professor of international relations and business at the University of Southern California, said at a symposium held this week at the University of Southern California.

North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un is not making jokes with Americans and the high tensions between Washington and Pyongyang indicate that Kim knows what he is doing now, Kang said.

Several times, Kim has publically expressed his determination to fight back with nuclear weapons if the US launches military operations with North Korea.

At the symposium, Petraeus said that the US must first take into consideration China's interests in the region before making a decision to launch nuclear strikes on North Korea, predicting that China is very likely to respond to the US military operations, which may lead to a second Korean War.

If a general war breaks out in the Korean Peninsula, the whole world would risk being drifted into the war, Petraeus warned. 

Kang echoed the former Central Intelligence Agency chief, proposing that China could act as a mediator to ease the escalated tensions at a time when Donald Trump and Kim were trading barbs over Pyongyang's provocative nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile which it said is capable of striking the whole mainland of the US. In response, the US warned Pyongyang that it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said that all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea's ballistic and nuclear weapons program, including military operations, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.

Kang thought that the situation might become even worse because of North Korea's ceaseless efforts to develop biochemical weapons, which he said might be used to retaliate against South Korea once a war begins.

If North Korea's nuclear ambition cannot be curbed, South Korea and Japan would develop their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves, which is detrimental to the peace and stability of Asia, Kang stressed.

Facts show that the harsher policy Trump adopts toward North Korea the more frequently North Korea will test its ballistic missiles, said Petraeus, adding that the recent operations of three US Navy aircraft carriers in the waters off the Korean Peninsula were counterproductive and intensified Kim's anti-America sentiment.

The best way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue is to get Kim back to the negotiating table, and China could give a big hand in the process, said Petraeus.
 


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