Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Wednesday (local time) that North Korea is likely to stage provocations during Washington’s power transition, emphasizing the importance of trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan. Some predict that tensions on the Korean Peninsula will heighten again around North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year speech on January 1 and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20.
"That's very possible. I mean they have got a long history of doing things like that," he said when asked if he expects North Korea’s provocations during a video conference hosted by the Brookings Institution on Wednesday. “North may be facing a wide variety of challenges internally,” Milley added, proposing the possibility that North Korea may try to change things around through provocations amid its economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 and sanctions.
“It is also true that North Korea has advanced its nuclear weapon and missile delivery capabilities,” said Milley. “But the deterrence capabilities of not only the Republic of Korea, but also in combination with Japan and most importantly with the United States is very, very significant.”