Washington Post: The United States will begin taking military action against North Korea “within days,” according to a statement issued by the Defense Department late on Thursday.
The statement comes after North Korea conducted what it described as a missile launch and launched a long-range rocket in the latest act of provocative behavior by the North Korean regime.
The North’s military said it launched the Hwasong-14 intermediate-range ballistic missile on Friday and warned of “provocations” should it be launched in the future.
“The Department of Defense will conduct a comprehensive assessment of North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities,” the statement said.
“Any action the United States takes will be measured in accordance with U.S. national security interests and the international community’s norms and values.”
The statement, issued by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Defense Acquisition Office chief Christopher Bogdan, also warned that the United Nations Security Council could take action against Pyongyang if the North fails to halt its nuclear and missile program.
US officials have previously warned that a North Korean missile test could result in military retaliation from the United Kingdom, China and Russia, but the Pentagon statement does not directly mention those countries.
The Pentagon statement comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea after a North Korea missile launch on Friday, which drew a US warning from President Donald Trump.
“It’s clear that the regime is making good on its threat to attack the United states,” Bogdan said at the time.
“We are preparing for a very aggressive response, and it will be accompanied by additional sanctions.”
On Thursday, the United State State Department said it was in “close contact” with the US Department of State on North Korea.
“While we recognize that our allies in the region must remain vigilant in responding to any provocations, the U.N. Security Council and other relevant entities must also remain vigilant and remain engaged with North Korean behavior,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“There must be no escalation of tensions or threats, nor any use of force, and the world must remain united in the effort to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.”