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Admiral Harry Harris: U.S.S. Carl Vinson Now in Striking Distance

The aircraft supercarrier is headed toward Korean Peninsula for an exercise with South Korea. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/U.S. Navy via AP)

The USS Carl Vinson, foreground, transits the Philippine Sea with the Maritime Self-Defense Force guide missile destroyer Ashigara, left, and the MSDF destroyer Samidare. The aircraft supercarrier is headed toward Korean Peninsula for an exercise with South Korea. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/U.S. Navy via AP)

WASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — A top U.S. admiral said Wednesday that America wants to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to “his senses,” as senators attended an extraordinary briefing at the White House.

Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the Pacific Command, welcomed recent efforts by Beijing to try to defuse soaring tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, and suggested a non-military solution remained the preferred outcome.

“In confronting the reckless North Korean regime, it’s critical that we’re guided by a strong sense of resolve, both privately and publicly, both diplomatically and militarily,” Harris said.

“All options are on the table. We want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees.”

Just hours before Harris spoke, U.S. troops in South Korea began deploying a contentious antimissile system in South Korea that has infuriated China.

Harris said the THAAD system “will be operational in the coming days, and able to better defend South Korea against the growing North Korean threat.”

But China fears THAAD will weaken its own ballistic capabilities and says it upsets the regional security balance.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters THAAD “severely undermines China’s strategic security interests.”

THAAD is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

Harris said the Pentagon should weigh whether to install missile interceptors on Hawaii, which could be one of the first parts of the United States in range of an improved North Korean missile.

The United States already has missile interceptors in California and Alaska that can supposedly stop any ballistic threat coming over the Pacific, but Harris said these systems need strengthening … (read more)

via The Japan News

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