An alarming pattern between North Korea and the United States has been taking shape during the President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The United States warns North Korea not to provoke, then, soon after, North Korea proceeds to intentionally and obviously act out. With every cycle of this pattern comes the increasing likelihood that sooner or later, one of the countries will ratchet up their end of the bargain, essentially starting an all-out war. With North Korea recently threatening a “super-mighty preemptive strike” that would impact not only South Korea but “reduce parts of the U.S. to ashes,” the two may be closer to conflict than ever before.
For his part this time around, President Trump warned in an interview with Reuters last week that if things go sideways, the U.S. “could end up having a major, major conflict” with North Korea. On Monday, North Korea predictably answered back in an increasingly defiant tone, warning that the country plans to ramp up its nuclear weapons force “to the maximum” in a “consecutive and successive way at any moment” as an answer to the U.S.’ recent actions. With the United States moving nuclear-powered aircraft carriers into North Korean waters, their military is warning they are prepared for whatever comes next, Reuters reports:
“Now that the U.S. is kicking up the overall racket for sanctions and pressure against the DPRK, pursuant to its new DPRK policy called ‘maximum pressure and engagement’, the DPRK will speed up at the maximum pace the measure for bolstering its nuclear deterrence,” a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by its official KCNA news agency.
North Korea’s “measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership,” the spokesman said.
Yeah, none of that sounds great, and it doesn’t seem as if President Trump’s recent weird compliments — calling Kim Jong-Un a “smart cookie” and very impressive to have kept the reign of the region after the death of his father — have thrown any water on the fire.