[If Trump goes blabbing on about killing the leader of N. Korea, and actually goes for it, he will run into more judges and federal bans that he did in trying to clamp-down on immigration.]
The U.S. National Security Council presented President Trump with options to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or place U.S. nukes in South Korea as retaliation to North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons program. (Alex Brandon/AP)
BY Denis Slattery
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Killing Kim Jong-un or placing American nukes in South Korea are two options presented to President Trump as possible retaliations to North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons program, according to reports Friday.
Both scenarios were laid out for Trump by his National Security Council ahead of his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping this week, NBC News reported.
Trump said in a brief appearance before reporters Friday that he and Xi made “tremendous progress” in their talks and that he believes “lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.”
He did not elaborate. Officials said the two sides agreed to increase cooperation regarding North Korea, and China acknowledged the need for more balanced trade with the U.S.
The Trump administration has been hoping to convince China to step up pressure on the reclusive North Korea government to curtail its nuclear program.
“We have 20 years of diplomacy and sanctions under our belt that has failed to stop the North Korean program,” a senior intelligence official told NBC News. “I’m not advocating pre-emptive war, nor do I think that the deployment of nuclear weapons buys more for us than it costs.”
Two military sources told the network that Air Force leadership doesn’t necessarily support the option.
Placing nukes in South Korea would be the first nuclear deployment overseas since the end of the Cold War, NBC noted.
The U.S. withdrew all of its nuclear assets from South Korea 25 years ago.
North Korea has continuously stepped up its weapons program, according to officials, and fired off a ballistic missile on Wednesday ahead of Trump’s meeting with Chinese officials.
In September, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test. Recent reports indicate that the country is readying another underground practice run soon.
Last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged in Tokyo, “I think it’s important to recognize that the diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed.”
Taking out North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other leaders of the Communist country was also floated as an option.
But that could anger China, according to Mark Lippert, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
“Discussions of regime change and decapitation … tend to cause the Chinese great pause of concern and tends to have them move in the opposite direction we would like them to move in terms of pressure,” he said.
The White House has offered conflicting accounts on how it plan on handling Pyongyang going forward.
Trump has indicated he is willing to act unilaterally if China fails to rein in its ally, saying over the weekend that, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that “any solution to the North Korea problem has to involve China.”