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U.S. denies existence of 'bloody nose' strategy for N. Korea

All Headlines 05:38 February 03, 2018

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- The United States denied Friday that it has considered a so-called "bloody nose" strategy to deliver a limited military strike on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

A senior U.S. government official told reporters on background that the term "bloody nose" has never been used in the White House or anywhere else in the Donald Trump administration.

"We were perplexed by all of the news reports over the past several weeks referring to a so-called bloody nose strategy," the official said in a meeting with South Korean reporters here. "My colleagues and I, up to the highest level, have even this morning, we were saying, 'Where does this phrase come from?' because we've never used it."

The denial comes as speculation has mounted over the U.S.' possible use of a limited military strike on North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile facilities.

The bloody nose strategy, according to media reports, intends to demonstrate U.S. military might to the North Korean regime without triggering a full-scale war.

This Reuters file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

The rumors gained traction this week after it was reported the Trump administration dropped Victor Cha as its pick for ambassador to Seoul due in part to his objections to the bloody nose strategy.

"The president ordered us many months ago, and his order still stands, to examine a wide range of options for dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem," the official said. "Those include military options as well as non-military options. There are more than one of each type of option and so (the job of) the National Security Council, including (National Security Adviser) General (H.R.) McMaster, ... he is supposed to tee up as many options as possible to the president so he can make an informed decision."

Pressed to clarify whether the option of a limited military strike exists, the official said he would not elaborate on the specific options provided to Trump.

"His order is a campaign of maximum pressure on North Korea. That is the strategy, that is what this entire government has been ordered to do, and also what the entire world has joined together to do," he said.

The campaign calls for increasing economic and diplomatic sanctions on Pyongyang until the regime comes forward to discuss its denuclearization.

On Cha, who was all but appointed to be the Trump administration's first ambassador to Seoul, the official indicated there were other reasons for his withdrawal.

"That narrative that is out there that suggests ... that there were policy differences that led to that outcome are 100 percent wrong," he said. "We have not to this date had an official nominee for that job and we are committed to having someone soon."

hague@yna.co.kr
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