CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said he’s concerned about the increasing tensions between North Korea and the United States and its allies.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore sat down for a one on one conversation with the senator on Friday.
For the past couple weeks, North Korea has been stepping up aggressive rhetoric, ordering long-range artillery units to target U.S. military bases on Guam, Hawaii and the mainland U.S.
Pyongyang has said it has put its field artillery units and strategic rockets assigned to strike U.S. bases on “the highest alert.”
Kirk, an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, said President Barack Obama has been doing all the right things in the face of the repeated threats from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un – from sending nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers flying overhead, to deploying missile defense systems to Guam.
Kirk, the ranking Illinois Republican in Congress, said it’s still a dangerous situation.
“When he says that ‘we’re at the highest state of alert,’ that means that liquid-fueled rockets are fueled; meaning that anybody can launch at a moment’s notice,” he said. “As President Kennedy would say about these crises, sometimes some idiot doesn’t get the word, and could start a potential conflict.”
The senator said he believes Kim Jong Un has been trying to shore up his position with his military forces, and he applauded the president for standing strong in the face of North Korea’s threats.
“The president made the right decision by sending B-2s to back up our allies. There was a time necessary to show unmistakably that, should there be an attack on an ally of the United States, the United States would defend that ally,” Kirk said. “And the result of that conflict … with the United States involved would be not in doubt.”
He said he hopes Obama’ s actions will give North Korea reason to ratchet down the rhetoric, but he agreed any action by a lower official could trigger an escalation.
Kirk said the last thing the world needs is a second Korean War.