The problem on the Korean Peninsula has gotten visibly worse in just twenty-four hours. At this moment, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are preparing for the possibility of armed conflict.
On Tuesday, after the communist dictatorship in Pyongyang test fired a missile that passed over Japanese airspace. According to The Washington Times, President Trump responded by stating: “The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”
President Trump further added that all options are still on the table when it comes to dealing with North Korea.
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” the President said.
Prime Minister Abe called North Korea’s latest missile test the “most grave threat” that his country has received to date from the regime of Kim Jong-un.
Just prior to entering an emergency meeting with his government, Prime Minister Abe told news cameras in no uncertain terms that: “We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people.”
President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are known for their somewhat close relationship and their similar belief that the rogue regime in Pyongyang must be met with iron resolve and the threat of force.
Both leaders have promised to increase international pressure on North Korea after the latest missile test. This could be strengthened by UN sanctions already in place, combining Japanese, South Korea, and American leverage on China, which has a habit of backsliding when it comes to imposing economic sanctions on their ally.
For its part, Seoul has responded to the latest provocation from North Korea by dropping eight heavy bombs near the border. This show of force looks an awful lot like a dry run for a future mission over Pyongyang.
According to the “Hermit Kingdom,” (the nickname referencing North Korea’s closed borders), their missile tests are defensive actions against what they consider to be the provocative joint military exercises that are conducted annually by the United States and South Korea. To the North, these drills look like dress rehearsals for a planned invasion.
King Jong-un also seems to believe that a nuclear arsenal is the only thing that can keep his regime in power. Given America’s history of toppling non-nuclear dictatorships in Libya, Iraq, and Serbia, Kim’s belief in the protective power of nuclear weapons is certainly grounded in logic.
At this point, there may be no good options when it comes to North Korea. A full-scale military event would not only kill thousands, if not millions of South Koreans, but the clean-up in the aftermath of North Korea’s fall would take decades and would cost the American taxpayer billions in wasted money.
Although a democratic North Korea, or a united Korea under the command of democratic Seoul would sharply limit China’s growing imperial power in northeastern Asia, a US military strike on Pyongyang could embolden Beijing to pursue more drastic measures in terms of trade and its ongoing military buildup in the South China Sea.
As America and Japan prepared for all possibilities, let’s all pray that world leaders make the best decision possible.