North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump continue to circle each other with provocations, the latest of which involves the foreign power accusing the U.S. president of stirring tensions with his “aggressive tweets.” Kim Jong-Un has also vowed defensive action after the U.S. sent a carrier strike team toward the Korean peninsula. This weekend may see (as has been widely rumored) a sixth nuclear test by North Korea, and now the country has issued more threats against the U.S.
CNBC and France 24 are reporting on a statement from the North’s Korean People’s Army via state-run news agency KCNA. The statement includes a threat to “ruthlessly ravage” the United States in a “merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive.” Further, Kim Jong-Un wildly claims that U.S. military bases in South Korea “would be pulverized within a few minutes.” Recently, North Korean did launch missiles as target practice for hitting U.S. bases in Japan and came within a few hundred miles of the coast.
More developments are afoot. On Thursday night, an NBC report indicated that the U.S. might bomb North Korea if it proceeds with another nuclear test, but following the country’s criticism of Trump tweets, the administration may be pulling back. The Associated Press reports that the White House has now arrived at an official strategy of how to handle North Korea. The chosen method will aim for more diplomatic efforts rather than jumping in with an attack:
The Trump administration has settled on its North Korea strategy after a two-month review: “Maximum pressure and engagement.” U.S. officials said Friday the president’s advisers weighed a range of ideas for how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, including military options and trying to overthrow the isolated communist dictatorship’s leadership. At the other end of the spectrum, they looked at the notion of accepting North Korea as a nuclear state. In the end, however, they settled on a policy that appears to represent continuity.
This, of course, flies in the face of Rex Tillerson’s recent bizarre statement following one of Kim Jong-Un’s missile launches. “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea,” he said. “We have no further comment.”
The officials who spoke with the AP say that the new tactic will involve delaying the use of military force in favor of applying more pressure to Pyongyang (as well as prodding China to assist with trade measures). However, one U.S. military official said that this plan could go out the door if North Korea chooses to lob more missiles at either Japan or South Korea.