N. Korea Makes New Threat With Plan to Provoke President Trump
Undeterred by stern warnings from Vice-President Pence not to test the resolve of the U.S. or its new president, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un remains committed to continue his nuclear program, even stepping up tests to occur on a more frequent basis.
Apparently, even the humiliating failure of the medium-range, liquid fueled missile that blew up within five seconds of its launch, has not convinced the current despot to reconsider his ambition to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Kim’s Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol said in comments to the BBC in Pyongyang, the capital of the communist country, adding that the U.S. would face “all-out war” if it took military action against North Korea.
The missile launch was timed to cap off the annual festivities celebrating the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Jong-Sung, the founder of the nation and intended as a show of force amid rising tensions about the Korean despot’s nuclear ambitions.
The president, in Florida with the First Lady, his son, Barron, and other members of his family to celebrate Easter, refrained from tweeting about the failed attempt, leaving comment up to his Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said, “President Trump is aware of the situation and has "no further comment.”
Back in Washington to host the annual White House Easter Egg Roll for the capital’s children, the president did tweet a simple, direct message to the North Korean dictator: “Gotta behave.”
Kim, who has been “Dear Leader” of North Korea for five years, has pursued a nuclear program with the goal of striking the U.S. mainland at Seattle or another location on the west coast with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
In more immediate danger are the 10 million people in the capital of South Korea and Tokyo, which has a population of 13 million with a total of 36 million in the greater metropolitan area.
Sanctions by the United Nations and international condemnation of the nuclear program have failed to deter Kim, who rules over a nation that is isolated from the rest of the world.
Neighboring China supplies virtually all of North Korea’s needs for oil and purchases vast quantities of its coal exports, but has been reluctant to rein in Kim as he pursues his nuclear dreams.
A face-to-face meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and President Trump last month may have established an understanding between the two leaders giving China incentive to exert greater influence on Kim.
Trump, who frequently railed against China’s trade policies, has indicated he would be willing to work with Jinping to further a reduction of tension in the region.
President Trump also ordered a Navy strike group to the Sea of Japan near the Korean Peninsula, and Vice-President presence in South Korea and at the Demilitarized Zone between the south and the north, underscored U.S. support for its ally.
“We are with you 100 percent – don’t doubt it for a second.”
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Vice-President Pence said speaking alongside South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn in the capital of Seoul, warning the North Korean leader not to test Trump’s resolve.
“The era of strategic patience is over,” Pence declared, invoking the image of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, whose policy of “leading from behind” and ignoring Kim’s near-obsession with being taken seriously as a world power has contributed to the present crisis.