In an interview on Fox News on Thursday, GOP presidential candidate John Kasich criticized the Obama administration’s actions against North Korea, calling for the aggressive interception of North Korean ships and aircraft after the country claimed it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. But when asked how exactly he plans to stop North Korea, Kasich stumbled.
“We must make sure that we quarantine North Korea,” the Ohio governor said to Fox host Martha MacCallum, who quickly followed up by asking him, “How?”
“Well you can’t let them ship things out, Martha,” Kasich responded. “If they’re on the sea, we’ve got to stop the ships.”
“But how do you stop them? How would you use our military? How do you stop them?” MacCallum asked, prodding the governor to explain how his administration would go about stopping what he calls the proliferation of dangerous weapons and the shipments of uranium-enriched material.
“Oh yeah, well, they’re supposed to have been doing this. I don’t know how robust it is. You stop them, right on the sea,” Kasich answered. “If we suspect they are flying things out, then we’re going to have to intercept aircraft. We just don’t have any choice on this. The easiest way to deal with this is on the sea. The easiest way to intercept is on the sea. And we were supposed to be doing it.”
The United Nations Security Council met on Wednesday and pledged to “begin to work immediately” on a resolution with additional measures to rein in North Korea. While the U.N. did not specify what those measures might be, the New York Times reported that “the most obvious would be a prohibition on loading or unloading North Korean ships around the world, or on financial transactions with the nation.”
The U.N. is also readying punitive measures to further restrict North Korea’s ability to create a nuclear weapons program.
While White House officials have said that initial data from its monitoring stations in Asia were “not consistent” with a test of a hydrogen bomb, despite North Korea’s propaganda, Republican candidates have been quick to criticize the Obama administration’s inaction.
A senior research fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation also wrote this week that the U.N. Security Council should implement a new resolution to “authorize naval ships to intercept, board, and inspect North Korean ships suspected of transporting prohibited nuclear, missile, and conventional arms, components, or technology.”