North Korea Wants Donald Trump’s Attention. They Have It.
North Korea launched a new ballistic missile test on Sunday morning, drawing a fresh round of condemnation from the international community. According to South Korea’s military, the missile flew some 300 miles into the Sea of Japan, making it a longer-range projectile than the DPRK tested last October.
In a statement, the U.S. Strategic Command said the missile was not of the range necessary to strike mainland U.S. interests. Even so, President Donald Trump, in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Kim Jong Un’s aggression would not be ignored.
“The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” Trump said.
Abe said the missile test “can absolutely not be tolerated” and demanded that North Korea adhere to the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions.
In response to the test, Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute said the missile test proved that the North Korean regime was growing steadily more powerful in terms of their military.
“The North’s improvement in missile capability shown today will be met by the Trump administration’s strong opposition and will likely accelerate the Thaad deployment in South Korea,” Cheong said. “That would, of course, trigger a backlash by China, which will likely retaliate against South Korea further.”
Thaad is a U.S. missile defense system currently under development in Asia. China has vigorously opposed the system, worrying that it would weaken their dominance in the seas off their coast.
President Obama exercised diplomatic restraint in dealing with North Korea, using a variety of sanctions and cyber-attacks to keep the Kim Jong Un regime from growing into a threat too serious to ignore. Unfortunately, the days of diplomatic resistance may be coming to an end. North Korea’s dictator has made it clear, again and again, that his ultimate goal is to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. And with every passing year, he gets closer to making that dream a reality.
Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton spent much time focusing on North Korea during the election, but Kim’s aggression could force the new administration to re-prioritize U.S. foreign policy goals. Whether that means increased sanctions, a new strategy of pressure on China, or direct military intervention remains to be seen.
One thing is certain – the U.S. can’t wait until there’s a mushroom cloud over New York City to take decisive action. Kim Jong Un has earned every ounce of mockery thrown his way, but the threat he poses to the U.S. and our allies is no laughing matter.