We recognize a historic moment that happened over the weekend with President Trump engaging with the North Korean leader at the DMZ in an effort to create stability and peace for the region and the world. We applaud the strategic move from the G20 to address the nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula, with the noncompliance by Russia to the INF treaty and the escalation with Iran in the Persian Gulf. There is now more stability in the Korean region with the unexpected overture by the United States led by President Trump that better enables U.S. limited resources. This aggressive and innovative engagement to pursue peace and denuclearization of North Korea would have not otherwise been possible if not for U.S. and allied missile defense capabilities today that render the North Korean nuclear ballistic missile threat to the United States ineffective.
There has been a history of North Korean testing of ballistic missiles over the July 4th weekend and a history of North Korea grabbing international attention by testing when other significant world events are focused elsewhere. North Korea continues to produce and develop its ballistic missile capabilities and have tested recently. Here is North Korea’s recent test record. Negating these tendencies by preemptive dialogue at the Presidential level is a win win for all and a step closer to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The United States has deployed in limited capacity 44 GBIs to defend against North Korea, due to the stop work order of the RKV that are tips for the 20 additional GBIs that were scheduled to go in as early as 2025. Those 20 new promised GBIs are on permanent hold until a more effective solution is introduced. Having Presidential dialogue with the North Korean leader in the DMZ this past weekend helps to mitigate the risk of potential overmatch by North Korea to when the additional 20 get put in place.
In addition, U.S. attention and resources will be focused on the tensions that are escalating in Eurasia requiring military posturing and leadership from allied coalitions across the world in addressing the withdraw to the INF. The noncompliance by Russia to the treaty and the United States’ final withdraw on August 2nd will cause an offensive build up of long-distance fires that in turn requires the need for a growth in defensive capabilities to stabilize the region and elsewhere. Keeping the North Korea threat in check and reducing the tensions there enables focus on the withdrawal process of the INF treaty.
“From the United States’ perspective, I can tell you that, while we have remained in compliance with the treaty, we have begun research and development on what would be INF range missiles, conventional missiles — not nuclear, conventional missiles to help us deal with any threats. And obviously, we need to build our missile defenses to deal with any type of Russian cruise missile threat which would come against alliance partners.”
– Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Espers – June 27th, 2019
Decisive leadership to ensure peace and stability takes courage.