Seoul and Washington cooperate closer for North Korea’s missile launch

Maj. Gen. John Macdonald, Deputy Chief of Staff of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), says on the afternoon of April 11 that South Korea and the United States have been in full preparation for North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket mounted with a satellite. “North Korea is likely to launch a long-range missile sooner or later,” he carefully said,

Maj. Gen. John Macdonald, Deputy Chief of Staff of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC)
Source: MND, Republic of Korea

On the same day, Macdonald said in his interview with the Defense Daily that the world’s media was watching the North’s launch of the rocket and that it seemed to take a while for them to exploiting their launch as a means to maximize the effect of their international propaganda. Although he did not explain the technical details of the launch concretely, however, he predicted they would launch before long, considering what was going on there about that time.

Above all, he reiterated his resolution that the United States and South Korea have jointly prepared to carefully cope with everything concerning this launch.

“The two countries’ militaries have been monitoring the situation prudently watching the development, deployment and proliferation of missiles and related equipment and materials that pose a threat to the region and the world,” said the general.

“The U.S. military has certainly been consulting daily with S. Korea and our allies in the region,” he added.

Also, he said, “The U.S. government and the international community made it clear to North Korea that this is an act of provocation.”

“We are taking appropriate and prudent measures to deter the North from invading the territories of the United States and its allies and to be able to respond to a possible threat to them,” he explained.

Asked about the chance of success in the launch, he reiterated his negative answer, replying, “I really don’t know about it.” And then, when asked about the North’s missile capabilities, he answered in a negative way, either.

It was reported that the North could have enough advanced technology to launch such a long-range rocket, but, if the rocket flies wrong and goes off its planned route, there is an opportunity that it might come toward the Korean Peninsula.

Considering such an unforseen occurrence, the two militaries countries have already prepared all possible ways to respond to it, he said. Furthermore, he warned that if the North pushes forward with its missile launch, further economic sanctions would be imposed on the regime.

Macdonald went on to say that in case that the North launches the missile, “the ROK-U.S. bilateral cooperative measures to defend their provocation in the region will be further strengthened.”

Above all, “We have been carefully taking a lead at monitoring what’s going on in North Korea,” and, in this context, “If the rocket is launched, our intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance assets and even our worships will be mobilized to prepare for emergency,” he explained.

“Regardless of whether or not the North’s launch is successful, we the two militaries have already made close preparations for all possible occurrences,” he added.

It has been said that if the North railroads their launch or succeeds in it, the United Stated will label it as a serious provocation. Because of this, the United States reportedly would use all the means to pressurize the North, such as the economic sanctions and the suspension of nutritional assistance, of the United States, and the condemnation of the UN Security Council.

South Korean and the United States’ major commanders such as CFC Commander Gen. James D. Thurman, Deputy CFC Commander Gen. Kwon Oh-seong and Gen. Jeon In-beom, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of CFC, on the same day carefully monitored the North’s moves to thoroughly prepare for the launch.

Macdonald, who has served for 33 years in the military, will be discharged from active military service on May 2. As seen in the fact he has spent a one-third of his Army years in South Korea, he has had a favorable attitude toward South Korea.

Furthermore, his grandfather, his father and even his wife also have all served in South Korea, which made each of them get special relations with the country.

Ministry of National Defense[MND], Republic of Korea