The Pentagon has finished revising its options against North Korea and will soon present them to President Donald Trump, American officials say.
The package includes a military response and would be handed over to Trump in case of a new missile or nuclear warhead test that indicates the North has made significant progress in developing weapons capable of hitting the US, CNN reported Thursday, citing two officials.
The news came only a day after US National Security Adviser HR McMaster confirmed the preparation of some military options.
"What we have to do is prepare all options because the President has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea and a threat that can target the United States and target the American population," he said.
According to McMaster, “denuclearization” was the only solution to the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula, something that he said needs more cooperation from China.
In an apparent break from Trump’s view that Beijing has tried and failed to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, McMaster said the Chinese leadership knew that it “does have a great deal of control over that situation mainly through the powers of the economic…relationship."
The Trump administration’s focus on North Korea is nothing short of an obsession, a point that can be inferred from the words of CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
"I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the President asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat Pompeo told MSNBC this past weekend. "It's very much at the top of his mind."
Last week, Trump himself called for “rapid” action on North Korea because it was “causing tremendous problems.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley warned members of Congress on Wednesday that Pyongyang was closer to developing strategic weapons than Washington thought.
"You are more optimistic saying it is multiple years before an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) comes forward," she told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "I think it's going to happen sooner, because they are on target to do that."
Previous US estimates put North Korea three to five years away from developing weapons capable of targeting US mainland.
“All options” are on the table, one military official told CNN, while hoping that a diplomatic solution was still possible with help from China.