WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Situation on the Korean Peninsula and U.S. Strategy in the Indo-Pacific, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) expressed concern over the Trump Administration’s reported “bloody nose” strategy against North Korea in which the United States would conduct a preemptive, targeted military strike. He also highlighted the need for diplomatic leadership in the region, pointing to the vacancy of a U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. Last night, Victor Cha's nomination as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea was pulled by the Trump Administration after Cha sounded the alarm about engaging in a preemptive strike against North Korea, further hindering ongoing diplomatic efforts to deescalate tensions in the region.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich received unanimous agreement on the significant risk of a preemptive strike against North Korea. Senator Heinrich has been vocal about his apprehensions regarding reports that the Trump Administration is considering a “bloody nose” strategy against North Korea and recently sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis outlining the risk of taking this aggressive approach.
Senator Heinrich also raised concern over the ability to create a unified strategy with our allies in the region without an ambassador to South Korea and the urgency of filling that vacancy. During Senator Heinrich’s questioning, Dr. Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, expressed the necessity of clarifying signals from Washington to Seoul and the importance of filling a missing piece in the puzzle with an ambassador to South Korea.
Testimony, a list of witnesses, and the entire webcast of the hearing is available here.