Top security, military and diplomatic officials in the Trump administration held an unexpected Fourth of July meeting to discuss options after North Korea said it had successfully test-fired an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of hitting the US, according to a report.
“The claim is being taken seriously,” an administration official told CNN.
News of the meeting comes as US officials say they believe President Kim Jong Un’s regime launched a “probable” two-staged ICBM for the first time, the cable news network reported on Tuesday.
While top officials in the State and Defense departments gathered to mull over the options, it appeared President Trump, who spent three hours golfing at his country club in Virginia, didn’t attend.
White House pool reports say his motorcade began the trip back to Washington, DC, around 1:42 p.m.
If North Korea launched an ICBM, the administration officials would recommend Trump approve a “measured response” that would include sending additional US troops, ships and aircraft to the region, CNN reported.
At the same time, the Pentagon would ensure all anti-missile programs on Navy ships in the western Pacific and land-based missiles in Alaska are ready – a show of strength to reassure US allies, the report said.
Anti-missile defense systems in South Korea and Japan would be deployed.
Other diplomatic angles are also being pursued.
The Trump administration, preparing for last week’s White House visit from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, began weighing a number of strategies on how to deal with the reclusive regime – including a military option.
“What we have to do is prepare all options because the president has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea and a threat that can target the United States and target the American population,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said.