In spite of the concerns of Sen. Lindsey Graham regarding the safety of U.S. servicemember families in South Korea, there are no government evacuations plans in the works.
Sen. Graham believes the Pentagon should start evacuating the families of the roughly 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea as America gets “close to military conflict” with North Korea.
“It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea given the provocation of North Korea,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
But defense expert Thomas Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general, thinks North Korea would see the evacuation as a provocation.
“Certainly when the U.S. seriously contemplates military action family members should be removed. I don’t think we are at that point,” he said in an email. “We should be careful not to act prematurely.”
“North Korea would interpret a move to remove families as a sign of U.S. preparation for offensive military action,” he said.
North Korea and the United States have been enemies for more than half a century, but tensions have never been as high as they are currently. Kim Jong Un’s missile tests and the ramping up of the nuclear program has baited President Donald Trump, who has employed frequent threats and insults, often in tweets, towards Kim, who he has nicknamed Rocket Man.
“Readiness, safety and welfare of our service members, employees and family members are essential to the strength of the U.S. and South Korean alliance,´said Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command. “We currently have no intent to initiate departures for military dependents, whether on a voluntary or mandatory basis, and no intent to modify the policy authorizing military dependents to accompany military members being stationed in South Korea.”