US military families must evacuate South Korea: Sen. Graham
US military families living in South Korea must leave the country as soon as possible, warns Senator Lindsey Graham, amid a missile standoff with North Korea that the lawmaker says risks military confrontation.
Speaking to CBS on Sunday, the South Carolina Republican said the idea of sending spouses and children to the South was “crazy” and only American troops should be sent there.
“So, I want them to stop sending dependents, and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea,” he said.
There are currently around 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea in part to counter what Washington describes as North Korea’s aggression.
The US military has an evacuation plan in place for the peninsula that it has tested on several occasions to simulate war conditions.
Graham’s comments came after Pyongyang successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), ending over 60 days of quiet after frequent missile tests came to a halt in September.
Hailing the missile and its ability to deliver nuclear warheads across the world, Pyongyang said Washington had been “jolted” by the strengthening of North Korea’s nuclear force and could attempt to commit “robber-like” provocative acts.
Washington reacted to the latest launch by warning that Pyongyang’s leadership would be “utterly destroyed” if its pursuit of a long-range nuclear missile led to a military clash.
“We’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea is marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America, but deliver the weapon,” said Graham, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The senator said he was confident in the Trump administration’s ability to manage the heightening tensions.
“He’s [Trump] got the best national security team of anybody I have seen since I have been in Washington,” said Graham, who entered Congress for the first time in 1995.
Following the test, Trump said he had talked to President Xi Jinping of China about Pyongyang’s “provocative actions,” and his Chinese counterpart had vowed that additional major sanctions would be considered against North Korea.