US Congressman: ‘America has right to strike first’

AN AMERICAN politician said last night that the United States had a “moral obligation” to launch a pre-emptive military strike if North Korea continued to advance its plans to attack.

As US troops stood “poised to respond” to any aggression from North Korea on its border with the South, New York congressman Peter King said there was a strengthening case for a first strike.

“I don’t think we necessarily have to wait until we are attacked,” he said. “If we have good reason to believe there is going to be an attack, we have the right to take pre-emptive action to protect ourselves.

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“I don’t believe we have to wait until Americans are killed or wounded. I’m not saying we should be rushing into war, but if we have solid evidence that North Korea is going to take action, then we have the moral obligation and the absolute right to defend ourselves.”

The Republican politician appeared at odds with the US government, whose official stance is to try to defuse the crisis without military action.

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel says North Korea is “a real and clear danger” to US allies and interests in the area.

The dispatch of a ground-based missile defence shield to the Pacific island of Guam, a US territory with naval and air bases, plus the deployment of two extra warships, stealth bombers and fighter jets, show Washington is keeping all options open. “They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile-delivery capacity now. It only takes being wrong once and I don’t want to be the secretary of defence that was wrong once,” Mr Hagel said.