Tuesday 14 November 2017

American troops 'vastly outnumbered' by North Korea if war breaks out, ex-US general warns

American troops would be “vastly outnumbered” by North Korea if a land war ever broke out in the region, the former deputy of US forces in Korea has warned.  
Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, who held the post until from 2012 to 2014, said that the regime’s threat was “the most dangerous" he had faced since the Cold War. 
He warned that soldiers deployed if military action begun could find their bases under attack from chemical weapons, further delaying their involvement. 
The remarks, contained in a letter sent congressmen seen by the magazine Newsweek, raise questions about the viability of a military option to solve the crisis. 
North Korea has an estimated 1.2 million troops, dwarfing the number of American soldiers stationed in the region. 
Mr Jouas wrote: “The 28,500 U.S. Armed Forces personnel in South Korea are vastly outnumbered by North Korean forces, as well as [South Korean] forces that will conduct the overwhelming majority of the fighting.
“Unlike every conflict since the last Korean War, we will not be able to build up our forces prior to the start of hostilities."
He added: “This threat was the most dangerous I’d faced since the end of the Cold War, and planning for it the most challenging problem I’d encountered in my 35-year career.”
Mr Jouas added that military action would be unlikely to “completely eliminate North Korea’s nuclear capabilities” and could lead to the evacuation of more than 100,000 Americans in the region. 
The letter was sent to Congressmen Ted Lieu and Ruben Gallego and Senator Tammy Duckworth, who are all US military veterans with concerns about Mr Trump’s approach to North Korea. 
Separately, an American has been detained by South Korean police after attempting to cross the border into the North without permission. 
The person was identified as “A” by South Korean police but is reported to be a 58-year-old man from Louisiana. 
He arrived in South Korea on Friday and was detained shortly before 10am local time after crossing the Civilian Control Line just south of the frontier.
His motive remain unclear, with police reportedly playing down fears he had a "political" reason for wanting to enter. 
Meanwhile a North Korean soldier has defected to the South after he crossed the heavily protected Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) despite being shot. 

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