Trump Strategy On North Korea: 'Maximum Pressure And Engagement'

Owen Stevens
April 15, 2017

On Thursday, US intelligence officials told NBC News that the US has positioned two destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles some 480 kilometers from North Korea's nuclear test site.

Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth in Mangyongdae outside Pyongyang, North Korea April 14, 2017.

Pyongyang says the military exercises are practice for an invasion of North Korea, and has warned of a nuclear attack on the United States in retaliation for any signs of aggression.

Military force can't resolve tension over North Korea, China says, while an influential Chinese newspaper urged the North to halt its nuclear program in exchange for Chinese protection.

"We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. preemptive strike".

South Korean analysts have said that the North might use the parade to showcase its strategic weapons, such as prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words", said Han.

None of the North's five previous nuclear tests has taken place in the month of April.

At the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Washington was "working with worldwide partners in order to defuse the situation, but the bottom line is, North Korea has got to change its behavior". Trump played down suggestions that it was also intended as a warning to Pyongyang.

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"The US introduces into the Korean Peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war", the North Koran Foreign Ministry on Friday.

On Twitter, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani approved of Thursday's bombing, saying it was "designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and U.S. forces. conducting clearance operations in the region". US Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea this weekend on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, Beijing appears alarmed by Trump's strident pronouncements as it tries to figure out how to manage the billionaire politician, who insists China handle the Pyongyang problem or suffer the consequences.

After inspecting an honour guard, Kim, in a black suit, watched the parade pour into Kim Il Sung Square, accompanied by top military and party leaders, state television showed in a live broadcast.

Tensions on the peninsula have soared this week amid speculation of a possible sixth nuclear test, following two previous year, as Pyongyang works to develop a long-range weapon that could strike the US. Another nuclear test would invite tougher measures from Beijing, Guo said.

Trump has also said the United States is prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary. "Striking a country lobbing missiles at us is no different", Onodera said, according to a March 8 Sputnik report.

Han also dismissed the comment Trump made just after being elected suggesting that he could patch things up with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over "a hamburger on a conference table" in the White House.

Kang Gil-won, a 26-year-old graduate living in Seoul, said his biggest concern was not North Korea, but finding work in a tough job market. "A nuclear test is something that our supreme headquarters decides on".

"China-US rivalry remains extremely high in the region, and there are reasons to doubt that such rivalry could be put aside to solve the Korean peninsula issue", said Alice Ekman, Head of China research at the French Institute of International Relations.

Other reports by VgToday

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