An all-out war involving the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the People’s Republic of China became even more possible following a chain of related events this week.
1. The U.S. has plans for a preemptive strike to knock out missiles and weapons — if U.S. officials believe North Korea is set to test a nuclear weapon, NBC News reported. American military forces have moved a number of weapons capable of destroying missiles and facilities into position in the region. This offensive firepower includes Tomahawk cruise missiles, Gray Eagle drones and the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB).
“The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue,” Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told NBC News.
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President Trump tweeted, “I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.”
2. North Korea might be preparing a test or tests of nuclear weapons or a ballistic missile. The nation has been moving launchers and other equipment needed for a missile test around, intelligence officials told CNN. There also has been new activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing area in North Korea, satellite images indicate. The activity includes digging and work at tunnel entrances, which would precede an underground nuclear test.
North Korea is planning for a major national holiday on April 15 on the 105th anniversary of the birth of the regime’s founder. In the past, such events have been celebrated with weapons tests.
The country warned this week that U.S. actions have “created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment on the peninsula and posed serious threat to the world peace and security.”
3. The U.S. Navy is moving a carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to waters near the Korean peninsula. A carrier strike group normally consists of a Nimitz class carrier, a guided missile cruiser (which is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles), two guided missile destroyers and a Los Angeles class attack submarine.
4. Japan is preparing for a North Korean attack. The Japanese government is bolstering defenses against ballistic missile attacks and preparing to evacuate 57,000 of its citizens from South Korea, The Japan Times reported. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is fearful of chemical weapons attacks on Japan, the CBC reported.
“There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of shooting missiles with sarin as warheads,” Abe told a committee of Japan’s parliament April 13.
5. China seems to be mobilizing for war. The China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may have deployed up to 150,000 troops along North Korea’s northern border, the China Post newspaper in Taiwan reported. The PLA has 24 Dongfeng “carrier-killer” missiles stationed in northern China. The People’s Republic has stopped buying North Korea’s most important export, coal, and ordered Chinese companies to return coal shipments to North Korea, CNBC reported.
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