NEWS

Donald Trump's Latest North Korea Comments Sound Like He Actually Wants War

The rhetoric grows louder.

06/09/2017 18:41 | Updated 07 September 2017

President Trump has insisted “now is not the time to talk to North Korea” and “all options remain open to defend the United States and its allies”.

The combative comments appear to rule out negotiations which are the course of action favoured by Russia and China, putting the USA at odds with a wary international community.

But even amongst those urging caution there are differences.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters
Trump continues to raise the rhetoric.

South Korea has urged Russia to back stronger sanctions on the North, including an oil cutoff, but Putin is said to be worried that such moves would hurt the people of North Korea, already amongst the most impoverished in the world.

Instead, Vladimir Putin is looking for support for a Russian-Chinese roadmap that seeks a North Korean nuclear freeze in exchange for the US and South Korea curbing military drills, saying it “offers a genuine way to defuse the tensions and a step-by-step settlement”.

“We should not give in to emotions and push Pyongyang into a corner,” he said. “As never before everyone should show restraint and refrain from steps leading to escalation and tensions.”

Washington has rejected the proposal, reports the Associated Press.

Instead Trump has announced the sale of more military equipment to South Korea.

This will take the form of of adding more launchers to a contentious high-tech US missile defence system in South Korea on Thursday to better cope with North Korean threats.

The deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) has angered not only North Korea, but also China and Russia, which see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.

A THAAD battery normally consists of six launchers that can fire up to 48 interceptor missiles, but only two launchers have been operational so far at the site in rural Seongju.

Handout . / Reuters
THAAD during testing in Alaska earlier this year.

The US has 23,468 military personnel and more than 300 tanks in South Korea, spread across 83 sites whose mission is to “deter aggression and, if necessary, defend the Republic of Korea”.

The two countries hold joint-military drills, most notably the recent annual 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, which prompted an escalation of rhetoric and missile testing from North Korea last month.

These are not only provocative to Kim Jong-Un but are also viewed with suspicion by China which is wary of the increasing presence of American military might in the wake of President Obama’s “pivot” from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific.

The last thing China wants to see is either the collapse of North Korea or an American invasion of the country, which would remove a long-standing buffer between it and the West.

Trump’s remarks were made in a phone call to Theresa May on Tuesday evening and today. When asked whether he would take military action against North Korea, Trump said it is “not our first choice,” adding: “We will see what happens.”

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS