September 26, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today questioned General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the risks of rising tensions with North Korea.
“I have a queasy feeling that we’re in 1914, stumbling towards Sarajevo,” said Senator King during his questioning. “And what worries me is not an instantaneous nuclear confrontation, but an accidental escalation based upon the rhetoric that’s going back and forth. The foreign minister of North Korea yesterday characterized our President’s comments as an act of war, and he said, ‘Since the United States has declared war on our country, we will have every right to make… countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers… even when they are not in the aerospace border of our country.’ That’s what worries me, is a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding, an event: a shooting down of a bomber, a strike on a ship that leads to a countermeasure, that leads to a countermeasure, and the end result is that if Kim Jong Un feels his regime is under attack, then the unthinkable happens. Make me either feel better or worse about where we are.”
Following assurances from General Dunford that he and Secretary of Defense James Mattis were, “looking at all of our posture in managing risk on a day-to-day basis,” Senator King turned his questioning towards the driving force behind the North Korean regime’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon.
The questioning came in a Senate Armed Services Committee to consider the re-nomination of General Dunford as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Previously, he served as Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, was the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan from 2013-2014 and led the 5th Marine Regiment during the invasion of Iraq.