Dunford Says US Military Prepares For North Korea’s Development Capability

August 14, 2017 Updated: August 14, 2017

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said on Monday (August 14) the U.S. military is preparing for North Korea‘s continued development of its military programme.

During the news conference after the meeting with South Korea‘s President Moon Jae-in, he added that China’s cooperation is needed to enforce diplomatic and economic sanctions on NorthKorea for denuclearization.

South Korea‘s presidential office spokesman Park Su-hyun also quoted Dunford as saying that the U.S. military options being prepared against North Korea would be for when diplomatic and economic sanctions failed.

Tension has increased in recent months over concern that North Korea is close to achieving its goal of putting the mainland United States within range of a nuclear weapon. 

North Korea and the United States exchanged threats of military action last week, with Pyongyang saying it will develop a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

The local government of this tiny U.S. Pacific island issued preparation guidance to its 163,000 people on Friday on how best to hide and deal with radiation after threats by Pyongyang to strikeGuam, or test its missiles in its surrounding waters.

Local residents display a Guam flag during a peace rally at Chief Quipuha Park, on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 14, 2017. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
Local residents display a Guam flag during a peace rally at Chief Quipuha Park, on the island of Guam, a U.S. Pacific Territory, August 14, 2017. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

In a guidance note titled “Preparing for an Imminent Missile Threat”, Guam Homeland Security advised seeking out in advance windowless shelters in homes, schools and offices, with concrete “dense enough to absorb radiation”.

It said if an attack warning came, residents should seek shelter and stay there for at least 24 hours. Those caught outside should lay down, cover their heads and “not look at the flash or fireball” to avoid going blind.

Guam, an island half the size of Hong Kong and some 7,000 km from the U.S. mainland, is a target because of its naval base and air force base, from which two B-1B supersonic bombers were deployed close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.

One of two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flies a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo/Handout via REUTERS)
One of two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flies a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo/Handout via REUTERS)

It is also a permanent home to a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor. Local authorities have been reassuring residents and tourists that a “strategic defense umbrella” across the Western Pacific can counter any missile attacks, and the chance of a successful North Korean strike on Guam was minimal.

“Our confidence is it’s point zero zero, zero zero, zero – that’s five zeros – and a one,” the governor’s homeland security advisor, George Charfauros, said on Friday.