Relations between North Korea and the United States remain tense as diplomatic efforts and pressure on North Korea’s allies to affect a policy change out of Pyongyang are being exhausted.
The Daily Caller reported that a former CIA official made a terrifying statement regarding the effort to resolve North Korea’s hostility toward the US and the West. According to Bruce Klingner, former CIA Deputy Division Chief for Korea, “Military options are increasing, not decreasing.”
Recently North Korea launched two missiles over Japan in a test of their intermediate-range ballistic missiles. This act prompted President Trump to issue a dire threat to North Korea if it continued to behave aggressively.
According to The Daily Caller, President Trump made it clear at the UN General Assembly that North Korea was a threat to not only other nations, but its own people: “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes. No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.”
He stated that if need be, the US was prepared to annihilate Kim Jong-un and his regime. “No nation on earth in seeing this bad of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States is a nation of great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
According to The Mirror, Kim Jong-un perceived this statement as a declaration of war: “Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding highest level of hard line counter measure in history.”
One of the countermeasures North Korea has threatened is to shoot down any American military aircraft that flies too close.
Kim Jong-un declared that he felt like a man on a mission and wouldn’t stop until his goals were realized. “His remarks… have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last,” Kim said.
Despite these chilling statements, North Korea’s despotic government has been quiet as of late, allowing the US to exploit other means to engage with the hostile dictator. In an economic move, the US has been affecting North Korea’s economy by exerting pressure on China to cut their ally off until they comply with international sanctions.
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said on her Twitter feed that the UN was united to impose sanctions on North Korea: “The UN Security Council unanimously adopted the strongest sanctions ever against North Korea: #15-0”
Yet, according to Klingner, this has not detracted from the real threat of a military response by either country to the growing tensions. He believes that if things aren’t resolved soon, it may be in the US’ best interest to pre-emptively strike North Korea.
Failing to do so could lead to war, which could have disastrous consequences, Klingner believes. “When I was in government; when we ran war games, the estimates were hundreds of thousands of casualties, and that was before we thought North Korea had nuclear weapons,” he said.
While war should definitely be a last resort–and pre-emptive military action should be a close second–the US may be running out of time and options. Hopefully, this matter is resolved peacefully and the North Korean threat can be minimized to acceptable levels. The alternative is not good for the world.