Washington must prepare for a nuclear attack because of the growing threat from North Korea, according to a senator from the US state.
Mark Miloscia said the danger to Washington, which is the closest part of the contiguous US to North Korea, was ‘starting to become imminent’.
And he warned that the threat was growing with each weapons test, urging lawmakers to back the bid for an emergency response plan when they meet tomorrow.
The senator – who flew nuclear-ready B52 bombers during the Cold War – also said that America could not rely on the safeguards that once prevented hostilities with the Soviet Union.
Mark Miloscia, pictured, said the danger to Washington, which is the closest part of the contiguous US to North Korea, was ‘starting to become imminent’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean Republic People’s Army (KRPA) in an unknown location in North Korea (file photo)
Seattle, pictured here at night, could be on the target list for the North Korean nuclear programme
He said: ‘In the Cuban Missile Crisis we had the institution of the red phone, and various ways of contacting each other militarily to make sure we don’t escalate.
‘None of that exists with North Korea. With the current regime, we don’t even have anything close to the controls over the relationships we had with the Soviet Politburo and its leaders.
‘And I don’t think they have any sort of rational contact with any of their neighbours that we can deal with… Given that, we hope for the best but we have to plan for the worst.’
Under current rules, Washington state is prevented from planning an emergency response to a nuclear attack.
It’s a throwback to the Cold War, when it was feared that planning for a nuclear strike might suggest the US was preparing to launch one itself and expected a response.
Mr Miloscia said he understood the logic, but the situation had changed and it was the duty of public officials to prepare.
‘We should have some sort of pre-planned response ready,’ he said. ‘Because the threat is growing and the threat is starting to become imminent. And not to do so would be a dereliction of duty.’
He continued: ‘I think it’s a real threat, if not in the short term then in the foreseeable future… initially I thought three to five years, but it could be even sooner.
‘I think we would be completely wrong to ignore it… There may be a better target for North Korea i.e. Hawaii, which is a little bit closer.
‘But I would put Seattle as one of the top five targets in the north-west to go against, both militarily and economically, for any sort of adversary.’
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets supporters in this photograph released today by the state media
North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14 being lauched at an undisclosed place in North Korea
The remarks follow a series of North Korean weapons tests in recent months, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching US soil.
And the situation only grew tenser when Kim Jong-un tested a nuclear bomb, estimated by US intelligence to pack a 140kiloton punch – nearly ten times bigger than the Hiroshima blast.
Mr Miloscia added: ‘To our country, they are clearly one of our primary threats, period.
‘Because when you combine an atomic capability with launch capability, that is a significant upgrade in threat. So you have to plan.
‘I don’t think we have that sort of threat capability and that willingness from any other nation in the world.’
The changes proposed by the Republican senator and David Frockt, a Democrat, will axe the rules preventing Washington from preparing for a nuclear attack.
Mr Miloscia will put the bill before his fellow lawmakers at the state capital, Olympia, tomorrow.
He then hopes a plan can be drawn up a the same time as officials revise Washington’s earthquake, tsunami and volcano response plans.
The United Nations Security Council has implemented sanctions against North Korea after the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test
North Korea has warned the US will soon face the ‘greatest pain’ it has ever experienced as Kim Jong-un’s hackers look set to turn to cyber-attacks to steal virtual currency in order to obtain funds amid United Nations sanctions.
Imports of crude oil have been capped – although the council stopped short of a total ban – and textile exports have been banned in the latest move against the state after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
It was the ninth sanctions resolution over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs adopted by the 15-member council since 2006.
Now, Kim Jong-un’s hackers are said to be looking to counter the restrictions by tapping into online currency such as Bitcoin as Pyongyang officials condemned the sanctions adding the US would soon face the ‘greatest pain’ it had ever experienced.
North Korea on Tuesday rejected the tougher sanctions and aimed its threats at the US.
Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae Song, told a UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva: ‘My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution.’
Han accused the U.S. administration of being ‘fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation,’ and of being ‘obsessed with the wild game of reversing the DPRK’s development of nuclear force which has already reached the completion phase’.