Arizona Senator John McCain publicly suggested that continued saber-rattling from North Korea could lead to the country’s eventual annihilation.
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Republican congressman said that Washington needs to “make sure that Kim Jong-Un knows that if he acts in an aggressive fashion, the price will be extinction.”
McCain made his comments at a time of elevated tensions between Pyongyang, its neighbor to the south, and the United States.
A recent bout of successful nuclear tests in North Korea has heightened tensions across the Pacific. President Donald Trump openly threatened the possibility of war several weeks ago, after Kim Jong-Un claimed his warheads could soon reach American shores.
Japan, meanwhile, has been calling on other countries to impose greater penalties on the dictatorship after a recent test of a North Korean ballistic missile passed above Japanese airspace before falling into the ocean.
The remarks made by Senator John McCain were among his first to a news network since he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July.
“The Korean defense minister just a few days ago called for nuclear weapons to be redeployed,” McCain relayed to CNN anchor Jake Tapper, adding that he thought the option “ought to be seriously considered.”
He also indicated he felt China needed to take a more proactive role in curbing North Korean aggression.
“I also think we’ve got to tell the Chinese, it will hurt the United States if we lose some trade with you, but I’m telling you now, something has got to change,” he said.
Threats from President Trump in August to punish Pyongyang with all the “fire and fury like the world has never seen” did little to affect the North Korean missile program – if anything, they seemed only to spur further tests and countering propaganda from Kim Jong-Un.
On top of calling for punitive measures and the consideration of military options against North Korea, Senator McCain took the opportunity to lambast a surprising deal made by President Trump.
In exchange for conceding to some of the administration’s conditions, Trump defied his own party by making a deal with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
McCain said the deal could deal a blow to the military, the funding of which he regards as a top priority.
“I believe my first obligation as chairman of the Armed Services Committee is to make sure the men and women who are serving in our military have everything they need,” he said. “Under this agreement, they not only don’t have everything they need, their lives are in greater danger.”
He then blasted President Trump for apparently reneging on his promise to bolster American military might.
“This is a President that campaigned and said, ‘I’m gonna rebuild the military, we’re gonna increase that,” McCain said.