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U.S. would seek regime change in North Korea if attack occurs
The U.S. would oust the communist regime in North Korea if it uses its nuclear weapons or launches an all-out invasion on South Korea and the 28,500 American troops stationed there, national security sources say.
But national security sources say it is a common assumption within the Pentagon and U.S. Pacific Command that a full-force attack by Pyongyang would put in place a contingency plan of massive retaliation against the North aimed at bringing down the Stalinist regime. President Obama would be faced with making the war decision.
“I have been told by a senior general that an attack by the North means regime change,” a senior congressional defense aide told The Washington Times. “I was told the same thing when I visited Pacific Command,” which is based in Hawaii.
However, an all-out war by the North would change the reasoning.
The Pentagon, with new strategic guidance from Mr. Obama in hand, has been updating its war plans for all regions, including the Korean Peninsula.
A source familiar with the thinking has told The Times that the plans include scenarios for the regime imploding on its own and an allied invasion in response to North Korea launching a war on the South.
The plan calls for the South Korean government and its armed forces to take the lead in post-war stability operations to transform the North and achieve unification of the Koreas.
The B-2 is an overt offensive weapon, and its use in a war would be to hit targets held dear by the North, such as headquarters, presidential sites and nuclear facilities.
“We would respond with massive air power and destroy their air force and air defenses within 50 hours, which means we could destroy their ground forces, with South Korean ground forces, in less than 60 days,” said retired Air ForceLt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney. “Yes, there would be carnage, but North Korea would be defeated decisively and quickly.”
Gen. McInerney, who did war planning on the Korean Peninsula in the 1980s, said it is China’s responsibility to keep Mr. Kim from acting on his threats to attack the United States and invade South Korea.
“Don’t worry about China. If they let it happen it’s their problem,” he said. “They are not going to war. China is not going to throw in a hundred thousand troops. China has got to keep this guy on a short leash. China is making so much money. They don’t want ill will around the world, trade embargoes. It’s not in their interest.”
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