US Preparing for Preemptive Strike on North Korea: Report

Strike would be launched if officials believe nuclear weapons test is coming
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2017 6:30 PM CDT
US Preparing for Preemptive Strike on North Korea: Report
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the central committee of the Workers' Party, arrive for the official opening of the Ryomyong residential area, Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

The US is preparing to launch a preemptive strike on North Korea should the country appear ready to conduct a nuclear weapons test—something it may be considering doing as soon as this weekend. The information comes from "multiple senior US intelligence officials" speaking to NBC News. North Korea has been warning of a "big event" in the near future, and officials believe it to be a nuclear weapons test.

To prepare, the US has positioned two US destroyers, as well as heavy bombers, in the area. And an aircraft carrier strike group is on the way. Officials say the preemptive strike could be a combination of missiles, bombs, special operations forces on the ground, and cyber warfare. It would reportedly not involve nuclear weapons. One senior intelligence officer acknowledges the "high stakes" of the situation, as well as the chance that US preparations could provoke action by North Korea. For its part, North Korea has promised a "merciless retaliatory strike," including nuclear weapons, if the US attacks first. Read the full story here. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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