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N. Korea could create 'explosive outcome': former U.S. JSC chairman

2016/11/28 07:33

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea could potentially create an "explosive outcome" as the communist nation has nuclear weapons and it's difficult to contain leader Kim Jong-un, a former top U.S. military official said Sunday.

Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed such concern during an interview with ABC television's "This Week" as he discussed security problems U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could face after taking office.

"I think North Korea, that peninsula is more likely than just about any place else in the world to potentially create an explosive outcome particularly tied to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The reality that he has nuclear weapons and the inability so far to contain him in that regard," Mullen said.

"And that's a place where four of the five top economies in the world are centered. Stability there is critical, and at least North Korea historically has generated a surprise if you will for new leaders in this country," he said.

Mullen also said that China should do more to rein in the North.

"Beijing has pushed back on that time after time. But if Beijing doesn't lead this, we're going to get to a point where he's going to be able to put a nuclear weapon on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the United States, and that's unacceptable," he said.

Though Trump has said he wants to focus on the U.S., international problems, "whether it's North Korea or China or Russia or the Middle East, will certainly be on his desk on day one," Mullen said.

Mike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

Mullen said he's known extremely well-retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who is considered the No. 1 candidate for defense secretary, and praised him as "an incredibly capable individual, strategically focused internationally."

   "He has good relationships on the international side, and I think someone who is born to serve and could make a difference, really significant difference as well," Mullen said.

He also said that former Defense Intelligence Agency director Mike Flynn, who was tapped for Trump's national security adviser, was a "terrific intelligence officer," but the job he's taking over requires much more than that.

"Now he's at the hub of the national security apparatus, and he's got to be an honest broker. He's got to present all opinions. He has to actually -- he and his deputy have to make the trains run on time in the White House," Mullen said.

"The number of issues are extraordinary, and he has got to be able to do that to give the president and the cabinet, but really the president, all the options in a way where the president can make the best decision for the security of the country."

   jschang@yna.co.kr

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