Illegal sanctions, provocative US military exercises, installation of THAAD missile systems in South Korea, and a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could be prelude to something much more serious—possible war on the Korean peninsula.
Trump tweeted: “We must be tough & decisive.” Separately, he threatened the DPRK, saying its government “best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Kim Jong-un “has been very threatening—beyond a normal statement—and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
Pyongyang slammed newly imposed sanctions, calling them a “violent infringement of its sovereignty, [part of a] heinous US plot to isolate and stifle” the country.
“It’s a wild idea to think the [DPRK] will be shaken and change its position due to this kind of new sanctions formulated by hostile forces.”
On Tuesday, a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assessment claimed North Korea successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to mount on a ballistic missile.
At this point, it’s more conjecture than verifiable fact, the claim heightening tensions instead of actions by Washington to cool things down.
US technical experts believe the DPRK hasn’t achieved atmospheric reentry capability nor accurate enough guidance and control systems to reliably strike targets long distance.
Its military poses no threat to American territory, despite hyperbole otherwise. Moscow disputed claims about it having ICBM capability.
A DPRK statement warned about carrying out a “preemptive operation once the US shows signs of provocation,” saying it’s “seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles.”
Home to Andersen Air Force base and other US military installations, the island is 2,131 miles from North Korea. It’s unclear if its ballistic missiles can travel that far.
Earlier, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and parliament Speaker Chung Sye-kyun called for dialogue with Pyongyang. So did Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday.
China and Russia jointly called for easing Korean peninsula tensions, urging diplomacy over confrontation to resolve contentious issues.
Both countries reject force and bellicose rhetoric. Washington turned down their proposal to suspend provocative joint military exercises with South Korea in return for the DPRK suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
China and Russia stressed the importance of respecting Pyongyang’s justifiable concerns. They categorically rule out belligerence.
Beijing rejects being held hostage to US interests as a way to try resolving contentious issues with the DPRK.
Tough sanctions and hostile rhetoric bring things closer to confrontation, threatening possible nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.
Will Trump rashly endanger the lives of millions of East Asians by attacking North Korea—madness if ordered!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.