In case North Korea attacked the US Pacific military bases, NATO countries will not be automatically involved in the conflict on the current legal basis, a NATO official told on Friday.
“The decision of the North Atlantic Council [NATO’s principal political decision-making body] is what would matter in any particular case,” the official said.
The NATO source added that “Article 6 of the Washington Treaty defines the geographical scope of Article 5 primarily as ‘territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America’ or ‘islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic Area north of the Tropic of Cancer.” “Invoking Article 5 is ultimately a political decision,” the NATO official added.
This week, Washington and Pyongyang have several times exchanged sharp statements. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump told reporters that North Korea should stop threatening the United States, otherwise Washington will answer with “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.” North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) later reported that Pyongyang was “carefully examining” plans for a missile strike on the Andersen Air Force Base located on the US Pacific territory of Guam.
At the same time, KCNA issued a detailed statement saying that a relevant plan is expected to be ready by mid-August. According to the plan, four Hwasong-12 missiles will fly around 3,400 kilometers, particularly crossing Japan’s airspace, and land in water 30-40 kilometers off the Guam coast. In Pyongyang’s opinion, this step will be aimed at deterring the US forces in the Asia-Pacific region.
Tensions around the Korean Peninsula started to rise in light of the implementation of the North Korean missile program. In July, Pyongyang conducted two ballistic missile tests which provoked a sharp response from the United States, Japan and South Korea. Washington has been repeatedly stating that no option including the use of military force could be ruled out.