The Joint Chiefs also fear that Pyongyang would use biological weapons in a conflict, despite global conventions banning their use, as well as chemical weapons - which it has never agreed to abandon.
The Pentagon made that assertion in a letter to lawmakers who wanted to know about the logistics and human cost of any conflict with North Korea. Such a conflict could prompt the reclusive state to use chemical (CW) and biological weapons, employing CW agents with the help of conventional munitions, including artillery and ballistic missiles, Rear Admiral Michael J. Dumont, vice director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in response to the letter from Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
Thae, the highest-level North Korean defector in two decades, appeared to confirm what has always been suspected but rarely articulated by US officials - that even a selective American strike could rain a potentially devastating North Korean military response on the South Korean capital and its environs, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the heavily militarized frontier.
In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican- all military veterans - called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North's nuclear arsenal "deeply disturbing" and that such an action 'could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting'.
Thae, who is making his first visit to Washington since his defection previous year, said the US and allied South Korea would win a war after a preventive military strike on the North, but there would be a "human sacrifice" inflicted on the South from the "tens of thousands" of artillery guns and short-range missiles the North has at the frontier.More news: Chris Jericho to headline Japan's version of Wrestlemania
They also said the Trump administration 'has failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over'.
With that info in mind, a bipartisan group in Congress believes there are no good military options and has urged the president to "stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options". North Korea is expected to be at the top of his agenda when he meets the Asian leaders.
'No dictator, no regime, no nation should ever underestimate American resolve, ' Trump told hundreds of cheering U.S. and Japanese troops in camouflage uniforms gathered at Yokota Air Base, just west of Tokyo, soon after he arrived. It was not pleasant for them, was it?
The admission by North Korea that the sanctions are hurting comes after the United Nations security council imposed a new round of them in early September following North Korea's sixth underground nuclear test.
"Trump himself threw a characteristic wildcard into the mix, saying he would "certainly be open" to meeting the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un", The Guardian says.