North Korea Leader Warns Foreign Journalists: Prepare For Something Big
Kim Jong-un has been called many things – American leaders call him a dictator.
Late night comics and pundits mockingly use phrases like “the human dorm room refrigerator” or the “pudgy little despot with the Napoleon complex.”
His starving citizens are required to refer to him as “Dear Leader.”
In fact, there may be a little truth in each of those titles, but while his official title is Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, he is also Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chairman of the National Defense Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army.
He holds the equivalent rank of a four-star general in the Korean People’s Army, but it is strictly honorary – Kim likes to play soldier.
Like most dictators, Kim craves respect and has adopted the swagger and bravado he thinks will win it, making wild claims and issuing threats to the major powers and world leaders.
President Obama was content to ignore Kim’s vow to develop a nuclear weapons program that will allow him to strike the U.S. mainland, but President Trump has a different strategy.
Less than 90-days into the Trump administration, on the eve of the “Day of the Sun” national celebration, signs point to the very real possibility that Kim may detonate a nuclear bomb to mark the anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founder of present-day North Korea.
Satellite images back up Kim’s warnings about an imminent attack showing activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear facility, which China considers dangerously close to the border between the two countries.
Trump has pursued a two-pronged strategy so far, engaging China’s President Xi Jinping in talks designed to drive a wedge between the two Asian communist countries by encouraging China to rein Kim in with economic sanctions in return for better terms in trade deals with the U.S.
If a previously unimagined alliance with China represents the diplomatic route to controlling North Korea, Trump’s show of force over the past week has demonstrated that he has plenty of muscle to protect the U.S. – and that he is not afraid to use it.
In the days following Jinping’s meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago where Trump informed the Chinese leader of an ongoing cruise missile strike on the airbase thought to be the origination point of a chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Assad on his own citizens.
The timing of the strike, although in response to shocking images of dying children struck by deadly sarin gas used by Assad, coincided perfectly with Jinping’s visit no doubt impressing the Chinese leader with Trump’s resolve.
Trump followed up the Syrian airbase strike by dropping a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB), or as it is “affectionately” known in the military, “The Mother of All Bombs” on a network of ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan.
The surprise move killed at least 94 ISIS fighters without impact on civilians and served to underscore Trump’s willingness to use the U.S. military and the full complement of its arsenal.
Trump also deployed the U.S.S. Vinson “super” aircraft carrier and a Navy strike group to the Korean peninsula to monitor developments and provide reassurance to South Korea and Japan, as well as China.
“Day of the Sun” festivities kicked off with Kim Jong-un watching a demonstation of special forces jumping from planes “like hail” and “mercilessly blowing up enemy targets.”
To date, Kim has conducted five tests of its nuclear weapons program and has done more than hint that a sixth test would be the perfect way to celebrate his grandfather’s birthday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned his parliament in Tokyo that Pyongyang could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas to Japan.
China has advised Kim to give up his dreams of becoming a nuclear player on the world stage promising increased “security of a denuclearised North Korean nation and regime,” according to an editorial in the Global Times published by the Communist party’s Peoples’ Daily.
President Jinping spoke with President Trump in what the U.S. president called ‘a very good call’ discussing peaceful resolutions in dealing with “the menace of North Korea.”
Vice-President Mike Pence spent Good Friday traveling to Seoul, South Korea and the presence of the U.S.S. Vinson offers the U.S. ally reassurance that despite tensions in the region, the new American president is dedicated to protecting them.
Among the uncertainty, as the world, not just the nation, spends the Easter weekend with an ear cocked to the radio or television for news, one thing is certain.
America is now led by a president who does not draw red lines in disappearing ink.
Kim Jong-un may not want to learn that lesson the hard way.