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US has no ‘bloody nose strategy’ for North Korea, McMaster tells senators

National security advisor H.R. McMaster speaks at the Center for a New American Security's annual conference in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser told a group of senators that the U.S. doesn’t have a so-called bloody nose policy to strike North Korea.

“We are here to echo that there has not and has never been a bloody nose strategy,” said Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island. National security adviser H.R. McMaster briefed a Senate delegation in a secure annex of Congress before the group traveled to the Munich Security Conference, he said Sunday in the Bavarian capital.

The comments follow reports by the Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal that such an attack is one option to address North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program. Victor Cha, a former White House official who had been under consideration to become U.S. ambassador to South Korea, warned in an essay against giving North Korea a “bloody nose” using a targeted military strike on the regime.

Even a limited move risks sparking a nuclear war that could devastate Northeast Asia and draw in both China and Russia, which have repeatedly warned the U.S. to avoid military action.

“It was very clear from H.R. McMaster,” said New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who also attended the briefing. Idaho Sen. James Risch similarly told an audience gathered in Munich that there’s no such strategy.

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© 2018 Bloomberg News

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