Three members of the US Cabinet were available Friday for commentary on the developing North Korean conflict: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster. The following is information taken from their interview.
The US had already set up THAAD systems in Korea and on ships nearby before North Korea’s missile launch over Japan. Japan had also been previously instructed by the US as to what to do in case of the missile launch. The US also raised its DEFCON to 2. According to John F. Kelly, the president plans to take any attack as an act of war.
The US is using primarily reactionary defense systems, but they are also looking to sanction anyone directly involved in the DPRK missile program. Despite the use of THAAD (“we do have the utmost confidence in THAAD systems”) abroad the US uses GMDs in their own territory and plans possible expansion to their defense system with the inclusion of laser and drone technology.
When it comes to negotiations with South Korea, the US has stated that they would be willing to pay for the THAAD system they installed on South Korean land if necessary, but South Korea will have to pay for the system if they want to operate it. The US is also working to outsell China when it comes to defensive systems for South Korea so that China doesn’t have influence in both North and South Korea.