Tensions with a nuclear-armed North Korea remain unresolved, even as the aggressive Kim regime continues its development of intercontinental missiles with ever-greater range. Although the viable options are unclear, President Trump emphasizes he is willing to consider unconventional options to deal with the threat.
In a widely publicized statement posted to Twitter, Trump asserted, “The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” The tweet raises questions about whether the president will go forth with a military solution in North Korea.
Trump’s remark comes in the light of Pyongyang’s latest show of force. As the New York Times reported, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido on Tuesday.
The missile landed in the sea but came so close to civilians that the Japanese government prompted its citizens to take cover. Both the Japanese and American governments immediately responded to the intimidation with harsh words.
President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to increase pressure on the communist nation. The US carried out its own show of power in response to North Korea, flying several fighter jets over South Korea in a joint exercise with South Korean F-15s.
However, it is unknown how much of an impact the display will have on North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. He has repeatedly resisted pressure on all fronts, continuing with his nuclear program which he knows gives him leverage on the world stage.
Prime Minister Abe noted the seriousness of the situation. As reported by NPR, Abe said: “The reckless act of firing a missile over our nation is an unprecedented, grave and critical threat and it is an act that significantly diminishes the region’s peace and security, and we have lodged a firm protest.”
President Trump’s statement hints at military action, and calls to mind past threats. Trump promised Pyongyang earlier this month that the US would meet threats with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
According to CNN, Trump followed up his warning with a statement that, “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong-un will find another path!” Despite these words, Trump’s senior advisers continually offer indications that the US is seeking diplomatic solutions rather than military ones.
Defense One reported that following President’s Trump’s “talking is not the answer” tweet, Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.” Nevertheless, as the situation continues to escalate, it becomes increasingly doubtful whether diplomatic solutions are still possible.
North Korea has been saber-rattling toward the United States for decades. Are Kim Jong-un’s threats against the United States today more than simple saber-rattling?
As The Atlantic observed, North Korea let millions of its people die of starvation in the ’90s. No amount of economic sanctions have been able to force Pyongyang into cooperation. Furthermore, China has proved unwilling to help in pressuring the Kim regime.
The Free Beacon reported on Chinese billionaire and dissident Guo Wengui, who has shed light on China’s extensive spy network in the US. Guo says it is “madness” for the US to lean on China when Beijing is using the dictatorial regime to assert its own geopolitical power.
With the list of possibilities running thin, military intervention may eventually become the only available choice.