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 

Team GlobDef

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