Hoffman, a Fox News contributor, made the statement on “America’s Newsroom” as the Pentagon was monitoring the rogue nation amid concerns of a possible missile launch in the coming days that officials have referred to as a “Christmas gift.” North Korea warned of the possible “Christmas gift” in early December, saying the Trump administration was running out of time on nuclear negotiations.
“North Korea’s extensive weapons of mass destruction program, including nuclear chemical and biological weapons, has been a wickedly complex challenge for our national security and there is a significant component which is intelligence-related,” Hoffman said. “We need to know where their sites are and what [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un’s plans are and that’s extraordinarily difficult when you’re dealing with this closed hermit kingdom.”
A significant launch or nuclear test would end North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on missile launches and tests. It would also be a major blow to one of President Trump’s major foreign policy goals to get North Korea back to the negotiating table to eliminate its nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, North Korea conducted what U.S. officials said was an engine test. Experts believe it may have involved an engine for a long-range missile.
When asked what the U.S. response should be if a long-range missile is launched, Hoffman said there “are three options and we’ve tried two of them with mixed results.”
“The first is the military option and with a wide range, which might include resuming military training exercises, some of which we’ve halted, it could include additional deployments of U.S. military personnel, missile defense or even potentially surgical strikes,” Hoffman continued. “Secondly you’ve got diplomacy and third, sanctions.”
Hoffman said the U.S. is not only focused on North Korea, but also on the country’s allies, Russia and China, “which have enabled North Korea to evade those sanctions and made it harder for us to press ahead with that maximum economic pressure we thought would induce North Korea to come to the negotiating table.”
“Kim Jong Un imposed, artificially imposed, a deadline of this year for the United States essentially to remove the sanctions, otherwise he would respond,” Hoffman said, adding that “his credibility is on the line.”
“I have very little doubt that he will indeed do something,” he said on “America’s Newsroom,” adding that it “appears like an [An intercontinental ballistic missile] ICBM test.”
“I think the United States would need to be careful about what response we take, there’s a range of options and of course we are not going to telegraph which one we might choose,” Hoffman concluded.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.