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Running out of Time? Sen. Graham Calls for Pentagon to Remove US Citizens from S. Korea During US Military Drills

12-05-2017
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The U.S. and South Korea are cooperating in a joint exercise that North Korea has called a massive provocation that could put the world on the brink of nuclear war.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wants the Pentagon to start moving soldiers' families out of South Korea because he says time is running out to deal with North's Korea's nuclear program. 

Right now, U.S. stealth fighters, as well as long-range bombers, are flying over South Korea in the joint military exercise named "Vigilant Ace." Over 200 warplanes are involved in one of the largest drills between the United States and South Korea in recent history. It's also a massive show of force at the doorstep of the North Korean regime.

The communist North described the drills as a "grave provocation," claiming in its state-run media that the drill could escalate tensions in the region "to the brink of nuclear war."

The maneuvers come less than a week after Pyongyang carried out a successful test of its newest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The weapon traveled farther than any North Korean missile to date with a potential range that could put the U.S. East Coast in danger.

Prior to the joint war games, President Trump's National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster warned that Pyongyang's continued aggression was inching the Korean Peninsula closer to war. 

"I think it's increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem, not just us but all of our allies and partners," he said.

McMaster said the United States is still working closely with China, which holds tremendous economic power over North Korea. 

"It's in China's urgent interest to do more, to do more beyond U.N. Security Council resolutions," he explained. "As we know we can not rely on an international body because there are those within that body that obstruct that important work."

Half a world away on Capitol Hill, Sen. Graham said he believes the U.S. is "running out of time" when it comes to stopping the North's nuclear ambition. 

"The policy of the Trump administration is to deny North Korea the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile. Not to contain it," Graham said.  "Denial means preemptive war as a last resort. That preemption is becoming more likely as their technology matures."

The South Carolina senator is urging the Pentagon to move U.S. dependents and other U.S. citizens out of South Korea. 

"South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea given the provocation of North Korea," he said. 

In addition to American diplomats and other embassy workers, about 28,500 U.S. military personnel are stationed throughout the country of South Korea, and many bring their families, who live with them on military bases. 
 

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