North Korea fired a second ballistic missile towards Japan within one month in total defiance of the fresh round of UN sanctions. The United States think-tank is, therefore, debating various options available to contain any possible threat.

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN has agreed that sanctions and diplomatic pressure have failed to produce any result. This is why military action could be considered. In her opinion, Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis would be in a better position to work out a solution that would prevent North Korea from developing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

The present scenario

CNN reports that relations between the United States and North Korea have been tense for a long time and the previous U.S. machinery had positioned the THAAD ground-based missile defense systems in South Korea. The U.S. also has adequate weapons like long-range interceptors and warships in the Korean peninsula. These warships are equipped with radar that can bring down North Korean missiles. Such measures were necessary because South Korea is an ally of the U.S. and its safety had to be guaranteed.

After Donald Trump took over, the U.S. flew its bombers over the region to send a message to Kim Jong-un but he remained adamant and ignored the diplomatic pressure. The UN sanctions imposed on his country failed to stop the missile tests and the latest firing a missile over Japan was considered to be an act provocation.

Therefore, intelligence analysts are trying to evolve an action plan to come up with a possible deterrent.

Eliminating the stock of Kim’s weapons is a possibility but the volume of the inventory is not known, neither the probable storage locations. These are vital inputs to plan a military action and absence of such information is an obstacle.

The military planners are also believed to be contemplating the option of a cyberattack. Such an attack could take the opposition by utter surprise.

No one wants a war

The general understanding among the decision makers is that North Korea will not attack the United States until Kim Jong Un is assured of his and his family’s safety.

Obviously, in the case of military action, the strategy has to be designed based on these assumptions.

Actions of North Korea are unpredictable and it is determined to pursue its agenda. The performance of its weapons is improving and its latest ballistic missile, which flew over Hokkaido, has proven that they can strike the US military base in Guam. Any direct confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea would be disastrous for the whole world and must be avoided. It is still not too late to try for a peaceful solution.