After North Korea’s UN envoy said the country would never bow down to international pressure and give up its nuclear weapons program, diplomatic means of addressing the hostilities appear to have been sidelined in favour of military action.
Donald Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley and the President himself have said “the time for talk is over”, despite China, Russia, and other members of the US administration claiming dialogue remains the main aim.
The US military has a huge presence in the area around North Korea, particularly in Japan and increasingly close allies South Korea.
There are almost 40,000 US troops serving in Japan, more than in any other country, and earlier this year the US Air Force lined up a huge array of helicopters, tactical fighter jets and surveillance aircraft in a show of force aimed to intimidate Kim Jong-un.
Donald Trump has a huge range of military options available if North Korea threatens war
Among the aircraft were HH-60 Pave Hawks, a twin-turboshaft helicopter primarily used for the insertion and rescue of special operation personnel.
The aircraft’s versatility makes it incredibly useful in other operations too, including civilian rescue and disaster relief.
The F-15 Eagles, America’s twin-engine, all-weather tactile fighter jets, are also stationed in the region and are among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat.
Also headquartered in Japan is the Seventh Fleet, the largest of the US navy’s deployed sea forces.
The flagship carrier is the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier that forms part of “the most effective and agile fighting force in the world”.
Two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers fly from Guam escorted by a pair of Japanese F-15 fighter jets
Also in the fleet are up to 14 destroyers and cruisers at any given time, some armed with ballistic missile interceptors.
A collection of long-range Tomahawk land missiles, which made headlines earlier this year when President Trump fired 59 of them at an airbase in Syria, joins the arsenal.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are also 12 nuclear-powered submarines available should war break out.
South of the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the US has 23,468 troops at 83 different sites as well as hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles, meaning there is always a heavy military presence should North Korea decide to launch a land attack.