Under Markey Questioning, Pompeo Admits Ground Troops Could Be Used in Preventive Strike on North Korea

Conventional war on the Korean Peninsula could see deaths of between 30,000 and 300,000 U.S. personnel in the first days of a conflict


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Washington (April 12, 2018) – Under questioning today by Senator Edward J. Markey at his nomination hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo said that using ground troops in a preventive strike on North Korea is not off the table. Projections for a conventional war on the Korean peninsula estimate that between 30,000 and 300,000 U.S. personnel could die in the first days of a conflict.


Senator Markey: “National Security Advisor John Bolton has outlined the case for preventive military strikes on North Korea…Is there any circumstance under which you would concur with John Bolton that with the exhaustion of economic sanctions, from his perspective, that a ground invasion of North Korea would be necessary in order to rid that country of its nuclear weapons program”


Mr. Pompeo: “Could I imagine one, yes. Yes, Senator, I could.” 


In March 2017, Senator Markey called on President Trump to engage in direct negotiations with North Korea and to articulate a comprehensive strategy of diplomacy, sanctions, and enhanced regional military deterrence in light of Pyongyang’s acceleration of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. He also has called for taking additional actions to increase pressure on the Kim regime to engage in constructive talks and counter its other nefarious activities, including cutting off crude oil flowing from China to North Korea, blocking the Kim regime from selling the slave labor of its people, eliminating Pyongyang’s illicit drug trade, halting its procurement of key rocket fuel chemicals, and restricting its use of the internet to evade sanctions through theft of cryptocurrencies to commit other cybercrimes.