After speaking with officials in both old and new US administrations, the paper concluded that US President Donald Trump had inherited this campaign to contain Pyongyang’s ambition to build a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, the ultimate weapon with which to warn off Washington.
The assessment of US success in causing Korean missiles to veer off course, disintegrate in midair or plunge into the sea is based solely on numbers, the NYT said. It estimated that since the North showed off its new intermediate-range Musudan missile in 2010, its tests reached an 88-percent failure rate.
In his waning months in office, Obama reportedly told his aides he would have ordered a preemptive strike on North Korea if he were sure its leadership and nuclear stockpile would not survive the attack. The new White House has several options at its disposal, including bringing nukes back to South Korea, even though this would speed up the arms race.