The United States Military has been considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang, The Guardian reports.
Two sources, briefing on the planning, said the Pentagon, amid heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, was looking for ways short of war to pressure the country into denuclearisation, particularly if Pyongyang goes forward with a sixth nuclear test.
Defence Secretary James Mattis has briefed the Congress on the option, but the military has not yet decided to intercept a test missile.
One U.S. official said the prospective shoot-down strategy would be aimed at occurring after a nuclear test.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence has warned Pyongyang against testing Trump's "resolve" and declared an end to Obama's "strategic patience" policy.
But North Korea's deputy Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol said Pyongyang would continue to test missiles "on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis". All-out war would ensue if the US took military action, he said.
Experts and former officials said shooting down a North Korean missile during a test would risk an escalation that Washington might not be able to control, which would risk potentially devastating consequences to U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.
Senior Pentagon officials considering the shoot-down option are said to have conceded they were unsure how North Korea would respond.
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