Tags: North Korea | leon panetta | north korea | nuclear war

Leon Panetta: Pulling Trigger on NKorea Could Mean Nuclear War

MNSBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports"

By    |   Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017 02:38 PM

Recent presidents have not "pulled a trigger" when it comes to North Korea because of the "obvious consequences with regards to what they could do to Seoul, a city of 20 to 25 million and the fact that it could escalate into a nuclear war," former defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta said Wednesday.

"That would take millions of lives as a result of that," Panetta told NBC's Andrea Mitchell on her noon MSNBC program. "It is clear that we have to continue to pressure China."

The United States' strategy needs to be one of containment and deterrence, continued Panetta, and "we have to up that game, including our presence there. We have to support our allies. We have to increase sanctions against North Korea, and we have to keep pressure on China ... we have to make sure they continue to put pressure on North Korea so they back off of the testing of nuclear weapons."

That could include considering secondary sanctions that could get the attention of China, said Panetta.

"We have to make very clear that North Korea, if they develop an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] with some kind of miniaturized nuclear weapon, that represents a direct threat to the security of the United States, and it is unacceptable."

Earlier on the program, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said China needs to take action, and Panetta agreed.

"This is a very serious concern in terms of our national security," Panetta said.

Meanwhile, an Iranian warship came into close contact with a U.S. Navy destroyer on Monday, and Panetta said such provocations have happened before.

"We operate in international waters, international air," said Panetta. "But if Iran comes in and does a provocative act, you to make very clear to them that that is unacceptable, that we will not accept that kind of provocative act. For that reason, I think what the Navy ship did recently indicates that they are entering a danger zone, and they are not to do that."

The United States is dealing with several flash points, Panetta continued, and it's important that the Trump administration has a strategy for dealing with its issues with other countries.

"You can't just react to the crisis of the moment and call that a strategy," said Panetta. "With regards to Iran, I think that it is important to divide these issues up. We have a nuclear agreement and they have abided by it so far. I think it is important to separate that out, and don't try to indicate that that agreement ought to expand to other areas that were not included in the agreement."

Still, there are concerns about Hezbollah, Iran, and terrorism and the United States should continue to put pressure on them, said Panetta, but "that ought to be handled separately from the work on enforcing the nuclear agreement."

The administration is also struggling to find out what its trade policy is, said Panetta, including on NAFTA.

"I know what the president said during the campaign about withdrawing from the trade agreements," said Panetta. "We recognize that is dangerous, particularly for our economy, that we would do that. I thought that they recognized the importance of NAFTA and the need to strengthen NAFTA, but you can't just get away from it. You can't just walk away. It is part of a global world. We have to trade in a global world. Our economy will be damaged if we don't stand by the proposition that we need to be part of the trade effort in the world."

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Recent presidents have not "pulled a trigger" when it comes to North Korea because of the "obvious consequences with regards to what they could do to Seoul, a city of 20 to 25 million and the fact that it could escalate into a nuclear war," former defense secretary and CIA...
leon panetta, north korea, nuclear war
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2017-38-26
Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017 02:38 PM
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