US calls for 'counterprovocation' measures against N Korea
Iran Press TV
Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:35AM GMT
The US and South Korea have prepared plans to respond 'more forcefully' than in recent past to North Korean threats of launching retaliatory strikes against the two allies in a supposed effort to "prevent" a wider war.
Describing the bid as a "counterprovocation" plan, US officials are urging an immediate but proportional "response in kind," calling for striking "the source of any North Korean attack with similar weapons," The New York Times reports on Monday.
According to the new plan, if Pyongyang uses artillery to shell a South Korean island, for instance, Seoul would quickly retaliate with a "barrage of artillery of similar intensity," the report adds.
The escalation of tensions between the two Koreas was further highlighted on Sunday when commander of US forces on the Korean Peninsula Gen. James Thurman suddenly canceled a planned trip to Washington for consultations and a Congressional testimony.
A top South Korean commander also canceled a Washington visit this week, according to the report.
US military officials have further warned that if North Koreans attempt to launch one of its new missiles, as alleged by South Korean officials, they would "calculate its trajectory within seconds and try to shoot it down if it appeared headed toward impact in South Korea, Japan or [the American-held Island of] Guam," the daily adds.
The report also cites American officials as saying that US President Barack Obama has ruled out striking at missiles on their launching pads "unless there is evidence they are being fitted with nuclear warheads."
US intelligence officials, however, have emphasized that they doubt that North Korea possesses nuclear arms.
According to the report, the new American military plan against North Korea is also intended as a warning signal to China, vowing an additional US military presence in the region.
"It is an effort to demonstrate to the Chinese that unless they get their ward under control, they will invite exactly the kind of American military presence in northeast Asia that they are hoping will go away," the report emphasizes.
It further quotes an unnamed US official as saying, "There are some who question our long-term staying power in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in a time of spending constraints. So it is important to show our allies that we can still project power in a very meaningful and rapid way."
Kim Jang-Soo, director of national security for South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, said on Sunday that Pyongyang "may launch a provocation, such as missile launch," around April 10.
The Pentagon said on April 3 that it would deploy an advanced anti-missile system to Guam to protect the US military bases and the 6,000 American military personnel there.
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