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One potential question for Congress is whether, and how, to employ the U. military to accomplish denuclearization, and whether using the military might result in miscalculation on either side, or perhaps even conflict escalation.
Questions also exist as to whether denuclearization is the right strategic goal for the United States.
Combined with the long-standing use of aggressive rhetoric toward the United States by successive Kim regimes, these events appear to have fundamentally altered U. perceptions of the threat the Kim Jong-un regime poses, and have escalated the standoff on the Korean Peninsula to levels that have arguably not been seen since at least 1994.
The United States has long signaled its preference for resolving the situation with diplomacy, and has used economic pressure, in the form of unilateral and multinational economic sanctions, to create opportunities for those diplomatic efforts.
A key issue is whether or not the United States could manage and deter a nuclear-armed North Korea if it were to become capable of attacking targets in the U. homeland, and whether taking decisive military action to prevent the emergence of such a DPRK capability might be necessary.
Consistent with the policies of prior Administrations, Trump Administration officials have also stated that the goal of their increased pressure campaign toward North Korea is denuclearization—the removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.
If the Trump Administration chooses to pursue military options, key questions for Congress include whether, and how, to best employ the military to accomplish denuclearization, and whether using military force on its own or in combination with other tools might result in miscalculation on either side and lead to conflict escalation.
This is perhaps because eliminating DPRK nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities outside of voluntary denuclearization, and employing military forces and assets to do so, would likely entail significant risks.
In particular, any move involving military forces by either the United States/Republic of Korea (U.In this report, CRS identifies seven possible options, with their implications and attendant risks, for the employment of the military to denuclearize North Korea. Such a conflict could also involve a massive mobilization of U. forces onto the Korean Peninsula, and high military casualty rates.