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Tense US-North Korea Standoff Slowly Escalates

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Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang. VOA

As the tense nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States continues to escalate, the risk of military conflict grows, while hopes for a peaceful solution remain remote.

On Sunday U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said diplomatic efforts to persuade the Kim Jong Un government to give up its nuclear and long-range ballistic missile program will continue “until the first bomb drops.”

But President Donald Trump has been pessimistic on the prospect of finding any diplomatic solution. He has called Tillerson’s efforts a “waste of time” and indicated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cannot be trusted to adhere to any diplomatic agreement as the leadership in Pyongyang has repeatedly violated past denuclearization deals.

“I think I might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. I think perhaps I feel stronger and tougher on that subject, than other people,” Trump said last week.

Systematic preparations

The Trump administration’s hardline stance demanding North Korea unilaterally stop developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland could be a negotiating strategy, but critics fear it could also be laying the groundwork for the eventual use of military force.

“This administration, not just Trump, this administration is systematically preparing for a time not that far off in the future, basically next year the way I interpreted it in context when diplomacy has failed,” said John Delury, an international relations professor at Yonsei University in Seoul.

A recent poll shows increasing U.S. support among President Donald Trump’s Republican supporters for a preemptive strike to take out North Korean nuclear or ballistic missile sites, although a strong majority of Americans still oppose the use of force.

While launching such a strike to prevent an imminent North Korean attack on the U.S. would be a justifiable use of force, it might be difficult to prove.

But any first strike military options, including possible cyber attacks to sabotage North Korean missile tests, or a decapitation strike to kill Kim Jong Un and the leadership in Pyongyang, would risk deadly retaliation against South Korea along with the 28,000 American troops stationed in the south, and could plunge the entire region into a nuclear war.

“I think that would be moral, diplomatically, strategically, politically a great disaster, not only for the people of Korea and the region but for the United States of America too,” said North Korea analyst David Straub with the Sejong Institute.

Military brinksmanship

Yet neither side is acting to reduce tensions, as they remain locked in what seems a deadly game of brinksmanship.

The United States and South Korea began week-long joint Navy drills in the waters around the Korean peninsula that involve about 40 naval ships from both countries, including the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and U.S. submarine Michigan.

South Korean media is reporting that a U.S. Special Forces unit practicing for “decapitation” operations is taking part in the joint exercises.

The U.S. has also sent a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets to participate in the Seoul air show this week.

And the U.S. forces in Korea will begin non-combatant evacuation training next week for service members and their families in case of a North Korean attack or other disasters.

North Korea, in turn, is expected to test another long-range missile soon. The North’s state news agency KCNA on Friday indicated a missile test might target waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.” In August, Trump said the U.S. would respond “with fire and fury” to an earlier North Korean threat to target Guam.

Pyongyang says the Trump administration’s hostile intent, and the increased military buildup, further justify its need for a nuclear deterrent.(VOA)

Next Story

US President Donald Trump Needs to Do Better than Tweeting, to Deal with North Korea

President Trump acquitted China of pressuring North Korea to Make Amends Regarding the Use of Nuclear Missiles

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US President Donald Trump. VOA
  • The US planned to use China to pressure the North Korea to make amends regarding the use of the nuclear missile
  • Followed by the death of American Student, Trump acquitted China from the responsibility of pressurizing North Korea to make amends
  • The viable option for the US is if Congress exercises its foreign policies oversight responsibilities by conducting a hearing on the Trump’s North Korea policy

Washington, July 2, 2017:  Since Donald Trump has taken the seat as America’s President, the only threat to America is North Korea which has threatened to launch a fully fledged nuclear war. The report is based on the views presented to thehill.com by Gregory J. Wallance, who is a writer, lawyer, former federal prosecutor, serving as assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1979 to 1985.

Many people feel Trump did a positive thing by addressing North Korea as a threat. Further, the US has planned to use China to pressure the North Korea to make amends regarding the use of nuclear missile because China is North Korea’s major trading partner. In order to reduce trade exports from China to North Korea, US has promised China with better trading terms.

On June 21, 2017, Trump tweeted, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” as a result of the death of an American college student who was jailed in North Korea who returned to the US in a coma.

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Soon after his tweet, he acquitted China from the responsibility of pressurizing North Korea to make amends which was taken by China in the best possible way. Now, Chinese President Xi Jinping was already unwilling to put pressure on North Korea can say that they tried their best.

Now the US is left with only two options: First is to launch a strike towards North Korea’s missile installations and face retaliation by North Korea resulting in a lot of deaths and the second is likely to wait till the time North Korea developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and that would give them the edge.

So, the viable option for the US is if Congress exercises its foreign policies oversight responsibilities by conducting a hearing on the Donald Trump’s North Korea policy.

A similar model was enacted in 1966 regarding Senate foreign relations committee’s hearings on Vietnam. It was done because, despite the late former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s assessments towards the Vietnam War, they were already losing so many American soldiers.

Conducting hearings like these would require the Trump administration to explain their policy and find better alternatives to actually make China pressurize North Korea and while the 1966 hearings were too late, Donald Trump’s administration still have time to retrace their steps towards the correct path and to make actual policy amendments rather than tweeting about the situation.

– summarised by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi