Pentagon: Only a Ground Invasion Can Clear North Korea of Nuclear Weapons

In a letter to Congress the Pentagon wrote North Korea 'has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 4, 2017
KCNA via Reuters

The Pentagon, in a letter to U.S. lawmakers, wrote that only a ground invasion can fully clear North Korea of all its nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities. 

The Washington Post reported the letter, written by Rear Admiral Michael J Dumont, the vice director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, came as a response from two Congressmen who asked for “expected casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea." The Pentagon noted in the letter that if the U.S. tried a ground invasion of North Korea, Pyongyang would likely respond chemical weapons. 

The Pentagon also noted that a full assessment of U.S. forces to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities is best suited for a classified briefing."

The letter, addressed to Ted Lieu (D - California) and Ruben Gallego (D - Arizona) made clear that the Pentagon “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons as it has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.”