The United States is ready to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea, should the Communist state show signs that it is proceeding with a nuclear weapons test, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News Thursday.
North Korea recently has hinted of an approaching “big event,” which U.S. officials suggest that a nuclear test may be conducted as early as this weekend.
In preparation for the potential strike, U.S. has placed two destroyers in position capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at North Korea.
One of those ships lies only 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.
Navy bombers stationed in Guam have also been alerted, and the Pentagon earlier this week diverted the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group to the area.
According to U.S. officials, the strike could be a mixture of missiles and bombs, cyber and special operations on the ground.
The concern of the United States is whether North Korea, governed by an unpredictable and volatile regime, would attack its southern neighbor, South Korea, following a U.S. strike.
“The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue,” Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Thursday in an interview with NBC News.
North Korea said on Wednesday that it would “hit the U.S. first” with a nuclear weapon if the United States acted preemptively.
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