Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling for the families of American military personnel to be moved out of South Korea amid rising tensions in the region. Graham’s comments come after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, on Nov. 28.
“It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea,” Graham, a Republican Senator from South Carolina, said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. ”So, I want them to stop sending dependents, and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.”
The U.S. has 27,123 military personnel stationed in South Korea, including 23,635 on active duty, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.
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Experts believe North Korea’s latest ICBM is capable of traveling over 8,000 miles, a range that would put Washington, D.C. and other major American cities within reach. However, North Korea’s November test involved a high-altitude volley using what was likely a dummy warhead; it’s unclear how far the missile might be able to travel on a flatter trajectory while carrying an actual weapon.
“We’re getting close to military conflict because North Korea is marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America, but deliver the weapon. We’re running out of time,” Graham added.
Graham also warned last week that the U.S. would go to war against North Korea if it had to. “I hope the regime understands that if President Trump has to pick between destroying the North Korean regime and the American homeland, he’s going to destroy the regime,” Graham said hours after the missile test. “I hope China understands that also,” he added.