The New York Times reports: “Self-restraint” is all that is keeping the United States and South Korea from going to war with the North, the top American general in South Korea said on Wednesday. His comment came as the South’s defense minister indicated that the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile had the potential to reach Hawaii.
The unusually blunt warning, from Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of American troops based in Seoul, came a day after North Korea said it successfully tested the Hwasong-14, its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
Washington and its allies confirmed that the weapon was an ICBM and condemned the test as a violation of United Nations resolutions and a dangerous escalation of tensions.
Although doubt remained whether North Korea had cleared all the technical hurdles to make the Hwasong-14 a fully functional ICBM, the launch prompted the United States and South Korea to conduct a rare joint missile exercise off the east coast of the South on Wednesday. The drill involved firing an undisclosed number of ballistic missiles into the sea.
“Self-restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war,” said General Brooks, referring to the 1953 cease-fire that halted but never officially ended the Korean War. “As this alliance missile live-fire shows, we are able to change our choice when so ordered by our alliance national leaders. [Continue reading…]