A top U.S. general said recently that he hopes peace negotiations with North Korea will come to fruition over the next few months but indicated that the United States won't wait around for North Korea to agree to peace for too long.
During the Aspen Security Forum on Saturday, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat down for an hourlong conversation with NBC's Andrea Mitchell. As the conversation turned to North Korea, Dunford told Mitchell that the U.S. will tolerate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's threats for only so long.
Dunford told Mitchell that for U.S. allies and enemies, war is not out of the question and that the U.S. military will take the necessary steps it needs in order to stop a nuclear strike on U.S. soil:
As I’ve told my counterparts, both friend and foe, it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That’s unimaginable to me. And so my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.
On Tuesday, North Korea's state run news agency said that the North Korean military would conduct a nuclear strike — likely against Alaska or Hawaii, according to North Korea — should the Kim regime feel threatened by the U.S..
Dunford later said that while the U.S. will exhaust all diplomatic options over the next few months, the military option is always looming just beyond:
So I think for all of us, we should give Secretary Tillerson full support in attempting to resolve this diplomatically and economically even as we recognize that it may not happen, and there may have to be a follow-up option, which is the military option. We can wring our hands and say it will never happen or we can roll up our sleeves and make an effort to have a concerted economic and diplomatic plan that does cause KJU, Kim Jong Un, to come to the table and begin to have a conversation, at least stop the path that he’s on right now, which is further development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear capability, and to me, it makes all the sense in the world to prove the theory of the case and to work this for a few more months.
TheBlaze's foreign military expert, Jason Buttrill, believes that the U.S. is simply exhausting its diplomatic options before it strikes.
"Judging from the fact that both militaries are refusing to back down, the ignored peace talks, and the accumulated military presence in the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is just checking as many diplomatic boxes as it can before we launch an attack," Buttrill told TheBlaze. "This way, we can truthfully say we gave peace our best shot, but North Korea just wasn't going to have it."
Peaceful negotiations have been attempted by South Korea's Unification Ministry, but North Korea has remained largely silent on offers for peace talks and went so far as to criticize the South Korean government for offering peace with one hand and threatening military action with another.
CNN reported Monday that North Korea has given signs that they plan to carry out yet another missile test, with transporter vehicles carrying ballistic missile launching equipment seen arriving in Kusong on Friday.
A North Korean missile test was conducted on July 4, which was overseen by Kim Jong Un personally. Experts say that the missile was capable of strikes on Alaska or Hawaii. Kim called the test a "gift" for the "American bastards."
As a result of that missile test, South Korea and the U.S. launched a joint test of a precision guided missile that military leaders said was capable of striking Kim at any time. Simultaneously, the U.S. released spy footage of Kim on a launch pad on July 4 taken, purposely imparting the message that the U.S. could kill Kim at any time.