Trump Discusses 'Range of Options' to Respond to North Korean Aggression

Posted October 12, 2017

Reuters reported that the USA military said in a separate statement it conducted drills with Japanese fighters after the exercise with South Korea, making it the first time United States bombers have conducted training with fighters from both Japan and South Korea at night.

The information, that included wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea, was from the country's defence ministry, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker.

The North Korean party anniversary passed without any missile launches or nuclear tests, but officials are wary the North could engage in more provocations at any time, especially with China to begin its all-important Communist Party Congress on October 18.

The exercise showed the "strong ability of the alliance against the North Korean nuclear missile threat", the South Korean air force said.

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US President Donald Trump tweeted last week that North Korea has been "making fools" of US negotiators for 25 years, adding that "only one thing will work" in dealing with the Kim Jong Un regime. Two days previous to that comment the president said on the social media platform that Pyongyang had violated agreements "before the ink was dry, making fools of USA negotiators".

They staged a simulated air-to-ground missile firing drill with two F-15K fighters over the East Sea and flew across the peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers after the September 23 mission that North Korea failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew in worldwide airspace east of the country.

Documents including wartime contingency plans put together with the USA were stolen from South Korea's defence ministry.

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Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged heated rhetoric in recent weeks.

President Trump hosted a discussion on options to respond to any North Korean aggression, or, if necessary, to prevent Pyongyang from threatening the USA and its allies with nuclear weapons, the White House said in a statement.

Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of the ruling Democratic Party who also sits on a defense panel, told the media outlet that about 80 percent what the classified documents contained have yet to be identified, but they included contingency plans for South Korea's special forces, reports to allied commanders and information on key military installations and power plants in the South.

While US Secretary of Defense James Mattis reiterated this week that diplomacy along with global economic sanctions would remain the leading element of US strategy towards blunting North Korea, military options were being prepared.

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Russia's TASS news agency quoted North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as saying: "With his bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of a war against us".