NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. – Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse would like the conversations between the United States and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un to proceed as “plotting a way” and not inflame and escalate quickly.
His comments come a day after President Donald Trump warned North Korea he would unleash “fire and fury” against the state, as U.S. officials confirmed North Korea had miniaturized a nuclear warhead that could fit inside it’s missiles.
“We don’t want to get to a situation where he (Kim Jung-un) thinks that a U.S. strike is imminent and then therefore, he thinks there’s no cost for him just launching nuclear attacks against Japan, against South Korea, against U.S. bases in the region (like in Guam), or trying to use some of his intercontinental technologies.”
With North Korea’s weapons now having the ability to reach North America, Sasse says it’s critically urgent for the U.S. to have a plan, but that plan needs to have a lot of Chinese pressure to cut-off supply chains and trading markets North Korea uses in the southern and southwestern parts of China.
Sasse told Nebraska City Rotarians Wednesday every scenario involving North Korea is bad and there is no good answer.
“Many Nebraskans have been asking me ‘why can’t we just take out Kim Jung-un?’ Obviously, we have the greatest special forces in the world and you can imagine scenarios where we took him out. Then the question is, what happens as North Korea breaks apart and there is nation state collapse, what happens to their nuclear materials?”
The United States and China know the nuclear material would need to be secured, but the problem is nobody knows for sure where the nuclear materials are stored, according to Sasse.
Other topics Sasse talked about during the weekly rotary meeting at the Eagle’s club, included: healthcare, illegal immigration, trade and cyber warfare.
Fischer: U.S. must address threat, can’t ‘sit and wait for North Korea to put a nuclear weapon atop a missile’
ASHLAND, Neb. — The United States has strong missile defenses but can’t sit and wait for North Korea to put a nuclear weapon atop a missile, “a threat that is becoming real,” U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said Wednesday.
“We can’t allow that to happen,” Fischer told about 300 people attending a conference sponsored by the Nebraska, Omaha and Lincoln Chambers of Commerce at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum near Ashland.
One positive step, Fischer said, was the United Nation Security Council’s vote Saturday to impose economic sanctions, supported by China and Russia. Both nations have strong trade relationships with North Korea.
“So those trading relationships need to end, in many instances, if there’s going to be any kind of pressure put on the (North Korean) regime,” she said. “But we shouldn’t be naive about this, either,” since such sanctions may not stop North Korea’s missile program.
Fischer is a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee and chairman of the subcommittee that oversees missile defenses, nuclear weapons and the U.S. Strategic Command, based at Offutt Air Force Base.
She cited recent news reports that a North Korean nuclear-tipped missile could reach major U.S. cities. Although it’s been more than a decade since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, the Washington Post reported this week that a recent assessment by U.S. intelligence found that a critical milestone has been reached: North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.
“People ask if they should be worried. Are we going to see something happen today or tomorrow?” Fischer said. “I would say to you that we live our lives, and we are realistic about the threats that we face as a nation, and we prepare for those threats, but we live our lives.
“And, again, it’s very important that we don’t just sit back, but that we engage with our friends and foes to address a danger and a threat that is becoming real and that is something that we may have to face in the not-too-distant future.”