Sexual assault allegations against celebrities, politicians, and journalists, are dominating the headlines. But, a much bigger problem is still quietly looming. Last week, the Department of Defense requested emergency funding from Congress to better defend the U.S. against a North Korea missile strike.
The Trump administration is requesting an additional $4 billion be added to the budget, to enhance efforts to deal with Kim Jong-Un. New strategies include the use of drones and fighter jets capable of shooting down a missile immediately after launch. Stepping-up use of cyberweapons to interfere with the North’s control systems is also part of the plan.
Unexpected progress in Pyongyang’s nuclear program is cause for concern for DoD officials, top scientists, and senior members of Congress. Fearing current approaches are inadequate, they posit change is urgently necessary. “It is an all-out effort,” said Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Reed recently returned from a visit with South Korean leaders. After the meeting, he believes officials must do more to protect the U.S. mainland against an attack. “There is a fast-emerging threat, a diminishing window, and a recognition that we can’t rely on one solution,” he said. Right now, the only antimissile systems are in Alaska and California.
However, in test runs under ideal conditions, those interceptors failed eight out of 16 times. A failure rate of just 20%, would still have catastrophic consequences. The Pentagon has also warned that North Korea will soon possess enough long-range missiles to launch a barrage, including decoys, making the problem far more difficult to combat.
Although quiet now, tensions are still high. Following Trump’s visit to Beijing last week, China is sending a special envoy to North Korea. Song Tao, head of the Communist Party’s International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday. He will report on outcomes of the party’s national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
President Trump has repeatedly called on Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to take a tougher stance on Kim. Speaking to reporters alongside Xi, he remarked that China could “easily and quickly” fix the problem. “If he works on it hard, it will happen. There’s no doubt about it,” the president said.