The US Defense Department has been considering military options against North Korea for more than a month in case President Donald Trump decides to take action, a defense official was quoted as saying Tuesday.
CNN also quoted the unidentified official as saying that the review of military options is essentially "due diligence" and top military and civilian Pentagon officials are "thinking through every course of action," including updating analysis on how North Korea might militarily react if the US were to take military steps.
The official, however, stressed that the review of military options doesn't change the administration's priority on the need for a peaceful diplomatic solution, and the US is currently not anticipating preemptive strikes against the North, according to the report.
CNN also reported that the US military plans to conduct two major missile defense tests next month to ensure its defense against North Korean missile attacks.
One of the long-scheduled tests will involve test-launching an improved Standard Missile off a Navy ship while the other, set for late May, will involve long-range ground-based interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California, the report said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have sharply spiked in recent weeks as Washington and Pyongyang have rattled their sabers against each other, with the US ordering a massive aircraft carrier strike group to move to waters off the Korean Peninsula and the North responding with a missile launch attempt, even though it ended in failure.
The two sides have also engaged in a war of words, with American officials repeatedly saying that all options are on the table in an apparent reference to military strikes, and North Korean officials also churning out highly belligerent rhetoric. (Yonhap)