Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Tuesday that the United States had the right to take preemptive military action against North Korea if there was “solid evidence” that Kim Jon Un planned to attack the U.S. or South Korea.
“If we have good reason to believe there’s going to be an attack, I believe we have the right to take preemptive action,” King said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront.”
“I don’t think we have to wait until Americans are killed or wounded or injured in any way,” he continued. “I’m not saying we should be rushing into war, don’t get me wrong, but if we have solid evidence that North Korea’s going to take action, then I think we have a moral obligation and an absolute right to defend ourselves.”
Tensions in the region have deteriorated in recent weeks, with Pyongyang announcing Wednesday that it had barred South Korean workers from a jointly run industrial zone on the border between the two countries. That announcement came just a day after officials declared their intention to restart a shuttered nuclear reactor. North Korea has escalated tensions in recent weeks, declaring a “state of war” against South Korea and threatening to attack the United States.
North Korea’s actions are thought to be driven by additional United Nations sanctions that resulted from its recent nuclear test. The United States has responded to Pyongyang’s posturing with a series of military drills in the region, as well as a repositioning of naval ships in waters off the Korean peninsula
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