"I think that North Korea also understands that if they were foolish enough to act aggressively, that there would be a very strong response from the alliance as a whole," Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, warned on Wednesday (local time) regarding North Korea’s series of threatening statement against the U.S. He also mentioned the possibility that the entity in charge of policies toward North Korea, which is currently the State Department, may be replaced with the Pentagon or another department.
Klinck said North Korea understands the current situation on Wednesday at a conference hosted by the Korea-U.S. Alliance Foundation discussing a transfer of wartime operational control in Washington D.C. “The military option was never taken off the table,” Klinck answered in response to a question asking his thoughts on President Donald Trump’s comment on “using military power against North Korea, if necessary,” he added. “I mean, the military exists to serve as a deterrent. It serves as a stabilizing force.”
“There may come a time where our response may be different, and where the lead for the State Department may switch to something else,” he warned. This implies that the Department of Defense may lead the polices toward North Korea with its military power at the center instead of the State Department with a focus on diplomacy in case of failed denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.