While the United States could theoretically live alongside a nuclear North Korea, the goal of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is to support denuclearization through robust deterrence and military preparedness, General John E. Hyten said on Saturday.
Hyten, who is commander of USSTRATCOM and was speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, said it is his job is to “create the conditions for diplomacy to work, by being ready all the time…to respond to any event that comes out of North Korea.”
But when asked by NK News whether the U.S. could live alongside a nuclear ICBM-capable North Korea – in the same way it has coexisted with nuclear-ICBM capable arsenals in China and Russia – General Hyten expressed a preference toward a different outcome.
“To answer the question of ‘Can we live with a nuclear North Korea?’ The answer is ‘Yes,’ but the question we have to ask ourselves is: ‘Do we want to live in that world?'”
“Is a world without a nuclear North Korea better than a world with a nuclear North Korea?” he said. “We can live in any world that presents itself (and) we can figure out how to defend ourselves in that world, but what world do we want to live in?”
Hyten continued that “President Trump by himself can’t change the behavior of Kim Jong Un, but President Trump can create conditions for the international community to… find a solution to (North Korea).”
And in that regard, Hyten said USSTRATCOM would support the President to “keep every bit of pressure we can,” adding that “we are ready to respond right now, right now at this moment.
“If (Kim Jong Un) goes down that path, it will not end well,” he warned.
Some parts of the U.S. administration have, however, said it is impossible for the White House to accept the prospect of the emergence of credible North Korean nuclear weapons.
In October, U.S. national security advisor General H.R. McMaster said accepting and deterring North Korean nuclear weapons capable of threatening the U.S. would be “unacceptable… (which) puts us in a situation where we are in a race to resolve this, short of military action.”
McMaster prior said that “classical deterrence theory” cannot apply to a nuclear armed North Korea, because Kim Jong Un’s government is different to other governments with nuclear weapons.
Main picture: 2017 Halifax International Security Forum
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 402 words of this article.