Trump Discusses 'Range of Options' to Respond to North Korean Aggression

Joy Montgomery
October 12, 2017

A South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday that North Korean hackers may have stolen highly classified military documents that include U.S. Defense officials refused to comment Wednesday.

The bombers took off from the US Pacific territory of Guam, before entering South Korean airspace and conducting firing exercises over the East Sea and Yellow Sea, South Korea's military said.

North Korea warned last month it could shoot down USA bombers at its discretion amid heightened tensions in the wake of Pyongyang's sixth ever nuclear test.

Outside governments and worldwide human rights organizations say Kim rules as a tyrant over a largely malnourished and abused population while enjoying a luxurious lifestyle backed up by a weapons program almost advanced enough to viably target the US mainland with nuclear-tipped missiles.

While the officials said the exercises are long scheduled and not in response to recent tensions, similar exercises have prompted strong condemnation from North Korea in the past.

According to Reuters, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test in recent weeks as it fast advances toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

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During Tuesday's drills, the USA bombers, which flew from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, staged simulated air-to-ground missile striking drills off the peninsula's east coast before flying across the country accompanied by the two South Korean fighters. The South has taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward the North's belligerence amid back-and-forth threats of war between North Korea and President Donald Trump. In a speech at the United Nations in September, the US President accused the North Korean leader Kim of being "on a suicide mission" - while Kim responded by vowing to "tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire". Kim is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea.

Rhee told CNN on Tuesday that the documents stolen included the South Korea-US wartime operational plan and a document that includes procedures to "decapitate" the North Korean leadership.

Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam will hold strategic talks with visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on October 18 in Seoul, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

The rogue regime is suspected to have perpetrated the infamous Sony Pictures hack, incapacitated and stolen millions from top banks, negatively impacted hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide through the spread of ransomware, and disrupted numerous systems across South Korea.

Commenting on the news is Chris Doman, security researcher at AlienVault, who is investigating hacking groups in North Korea.

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