West Coast Lawmakers Sound Alarm on North Korea

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    West Coast Lawmakers Sound Alarm on North Korea

    A leading defector from Pyongyang says that Kim Jong Un will never give his nuclear weapons.

    This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Jan. 19, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a sub-unit under KPA Unit 233 at an undisclosed location.
    U.S. lawmakers suspect that North Korea is an imminent threat that needs to be addressed sooner than later. (STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

    West Coast lawmakers are increasingly sounding the alarm on the threat posed by North Korea.

    “Some of us are old enough to remember when we had civil defense and we were under our desks,” Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said during a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting..


    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis attends a joint briefing with his South Korean counterpart Han Min-Koo at the headquarters of the Defense Ministry on February 3, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Mattis meets South Korean acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and South Korean counterpart Han Min-Koo. (Photo by
    U.S. Warns Off North Korea
    Sherman proposed that “we ought to have civil defense in this country.”

    “We have a foreign policy establishment that will not admit to the American people that [deterrence] may fail to prevent us from being hit,” he said. “We could prepare to minimize casualties. We won’t, because that means we’d have to admit that there’s the possibility we will face casualties.”

    Los Angeles has been posited as a possible North Korean target for years. The committee’s chairman, Ed Royce, from Southern California, said this isn’t just an issue that affects the West Coast, however.

    “At this point it is clear that very, very soon, North Korea is going to be able to target all 50 states in the United States, as well as target our allies,” Royce said.

    The lawmakers’ comments come as leading North Korea defector Thae Yong Ho said leader Kim Jong Un will never give up his program.

    “We should not think that giving incentives to North Korea will help resolve Pyongyang’s nuclear issue,” the Yonhap news agency quoted Thae as saying. “It’s never about the quantity or quality of incentives… Kim will never engage in any act that might pose threats to his long-term rule.”

    But he also warned against pre-emptively striking North Korea, saying such a course would be a “huge catastrophe.”

    Thae has previously expressed confidence the government will eventually fall on its own.


    ARLINGTON, VA – JANUARY 30: U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis greets honor guards prior to an enhanced honor cordon with King Abdullah of Jordan January 30, 2017 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. King Abdullah is on a visit in Washington. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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    “I can say that Kim Jong Un’s days are numbered,” Thae, Pyongyang’s former deputy ambassador in London, said in January. He said Kim is losing the faith of the country’s elites and that “the traditional structures of North Korean systems are crumbling.”

    Thae told the BCC: “I’m sure that Kim Jong Un’s regime one day will collapse by a people’s uprising.”

    Thomas Byrne, president of the Korea Society, a New York-based organization, agrees.

    “As a former credit analyst I have learned when making a projection to pick a number or a time frame, but not both. I cannot pick a precise year when the DPRK will collapse, but, historically, an unreformed system like North Korea will eventually collapse,” Byrne told U.S. News. “The clock will run out.”

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