Despite new sanctions being prepared by the United Nations against North Korea for repeatedly violating the ban on testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Kim Jung-un has just ordered a speed up in production of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, President Trump is continuing to work with China, North Korea’s main benefactor, to stop the communist leader from bringing war to the peninsula.
Mr. Trump said his administration vowing to confront the dictator and stop the crisis with North Korea. The President said in an interview that “we have to be prepared for the worst,” even as our Congress also moves on a separate front to apply new sanctions following the last failed missile test. In addition, China is increasingly unhappy with North Korea’s actions after they have spent the last month trying to convince Kim to call a halt to his actions in an effort to ensure peace in the region.
But in light of Kim’s latest tests, Mr. Trump told The Washington Examiner that he sees Kim Jong Un as “very threatening. We have to be prepared to do what we have to do. We cannot allow this to go on.” Later in another interview, President Trump declined to rule out military action. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told “Fox News Sunday” that it’s “important for all of us to confront this regime.”
The Trump administration has been using both the carrot and the stick approach trying to cool down North Korea’s rhetoric and actions, including Mr. Trumps talks with Chinese leader Xi aimed at enlisting their help in exerting pressure on Pyongyang. But so far, Kim has been content to thumb his nose at the entire world including China, something that has upset President Xi.
Susan Thornton, the acting top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, said there’s debate about whether Pyongyang is willing to give up its weapons programs. She said the U.S. wants “to test that hypothesis to the maximum extent we can” for a peaceful resolution. But not wanting to be misunderstood, Ms. Thornton made it clear that failing that, military action remains possible, Thornton told an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that the administration treats North Korea as its primary security challenge and is serious that “all options are on the table.”
Meanwhile China seems to be resigned to the fact that sooner or later there will be war between North Korea and the United States and her allies. Just this weekend, Chinese leader Xi issued orders to start preparations for a mass exodus of refugees from North Korea. That act does not bode well for hopes of a peaceful deescalation in tensions.