Trump may mull naval blockade, no-fly zone against N. Korea: expert

SEOUL-- The Donald Trump administration may push for naval blockades or the imposition of a "no-fly" zone against North Korea should it succeed in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), an expert here said Tuesday.

Trump would view it as a red line for the nuclear-armed communist nation, according to Shin Beom-chul, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul.

In case of the North's successful development of ICBMs, "Taking military actions against Pyongyang will be the most appealing option on the table from Trump's perspective," he said in a paper released to media ahead of a security forum to be co-organized by Korea National Defense University and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (foundation).

The forum will be held in Seoul on Wednesday with the theme of "The New U.S. Administration and Its Alliance Relations: Change and Continuity." Shin plans to give a presentation at the conference.

Shin pointed out that Trump will be restrained from launching a direct military strike against the North due to concerns about massive retaliatory attacks.

"He can still create military tensions through other options without carrying out a direct military attack on North Korea," the professor said. "That is, military operations, naval blockades, and the imposition of a no-fly zone could also escalate tensions in Northeast Asia."

For these reasons, he added, attention needs to be paid to the U.S. decision to keep deploying its aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the East Sea after May.

Another key question is how China and Russia will respond to such U.S. actions if taken.

Both Beijing and Moscow may seek to avoid a direct military confrontation with the U.S. and step up efforts to nudge Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table on its nuclear program, Shin said.

Or they may try to check such unilateral military actions by the U.S., creating military tensions among the regional powers and exacerbating the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, he said.

If regional players fail to manage pending risk factors, he added, Northeast Asia is likely to slide into the vortex of armed confrontations.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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