Book says Obama mulled preemptive attack on N. Korea: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-09-12 07:55 Updated : 2018-09-12 07:55
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[AP/Yonhap News Photo]

WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. President Barack Obama mulled a preemptive attack on North Korea after its fifth nuclear test in 2016, according to a book released Tuesday.

Obama was deeply disturbed to learn that North Korea had conducted its biggest-yet nuclear detonation on September 9, 2016, with the North claiming the new nuclear bomb could be mounted on a ballistic missile, journalist Bob Woodward wrote in "Fear: Trump in the White House."

"Even with his intense desire to avoid a war, Obama decided the time had come to consider whether the North Korean nuclear threat could be eliminated in a surgical military strike," the book claims.

"The North Korean threat had not been diminished, and in September 2016 Obama posed a sensitive question to his National Security Council: Was it possible to launch a preemptive military strike, supported by cyber attacks, on North Korea to take out their nuclear and missile programs?" it continues.

Woodward's account of the internal deliberations of the Trump White House has raised a storm in Washington, with the president bashing the book as "fake." The Obama anecdote indicates that U.S. considerations of a preemptive strike on North Korea began even before the Trump administration took office in early 2017.