During Obama’s 8 years in office, he took a passive approach to the aggressive and unhinged North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. At the end of his time in office, Obama had to admit that his approach with them didn’t work. President Trump however, is not Barack Obama, and has chosen a different course of action. He’s not about to sit back and ignore North Korea’s crazy dictator, as he continues to threaten the United States.
CNS News – President Obama, speaking at his final news conference in Laos, said his approach to North Korea is “to not reward bad behavior,” but he also admitted that his approach isn’t working because Pyongyang “has continued to engage in the development of their nuclear program.”
Obama spoke shortly before North Korea conducted its fifth — and largest — nuclear test.
Obama said he is “deeply disturbed” by North Korea’s continued flouting of “international obligations,” and he pointed to the defensive measures — the deployment of U.S. THADD missiles in South Korea — intended to protect the U.S. and its allies.
The secretive state vowed to ‘pulverize’ US bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it was threatened by the US military, which is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula. A US aircraft carrier group is steaming towards the region.
It claimed it would ‘ruthlessly ravage’ the US if Washington attacked. China warned the region could go to war ‘at any moment’.
The rhetoric comes after North Korea warned that President Donald Trump’s ‘troublemaking’ and ‘aggressive’ tweets have pushed the world to the brink of thermo-nuclear war.
Pyongyang’s Vice Minister Han Song Ryol accused Trump of building up a ‘vicious cycle’ of tensions and warned the US against provoking North Korea militarily. He said: ‘We will go to war if they choose.’
He added the country would continue developing its nuclear program and conduct its next nuclear test whenever its leaders see fit.
In the past week Trump has shown his willingness to launch military strikes, with US missiles deployed in Syria and Afghanistan.
In other developments today, as tensions heighten in the Korean peninsula:
- The North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Disarmament and Peace warned a thermo-nuclear war could break out at any moment
- China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said anyone who provokes conflict would ‘pay the price’, and said there would be ‘no winners’. China warned war could break out ‘at any moment’
- Air China announced that flights between Beijing and Pyongyang will be suspended from Monday
- The Kremlin voiced concern about the escalation of tensions, and called for ‘restraint’ from all parties
- The Korean People’s Army in North Korea threatened to ‘pulverize’ US military bases in South Korea, and the South Korean presidential Blue House
- North Korea cited US-South Korean wargames, the deployment of a US aircraft carrier to the peninsula last weekend, as well as Trump’s recent tweets as the cause of the threat of war
- South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said saying Han’s remarks reveal the ‘true colours of North Korea’s government that is bellicose and a breaker of regulations’
- Japan said it is maintaining high levels of surveillance and taking ‘every possible measure’ to respond to any contingency on the Korean peninsula
- US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally. He will embark on a 10-day visit to Asia, starting in South Korea on Sunday with contingency plans should it coincide with a nuclear test, a White House adviser said.
Pence plans to celebrate Easter with US and Korean troops on Sunday before talks on Monday with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.
‘We’re going to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea’s efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program,’ a White House foreign policy adviser told reporters, previewing Pence’s trip.
Pence will land in Seoul the day after North Korea’s biggest national day, the ‘Day of the Sun.’
The White House has contingency plans for Pence’s trip should it coincide with a another North Korean nuclear test by its leader Kim Jong Un, the adviser said.
‘Unfortunately, it’s not a new surprise for us. He continues to develop this program, he continues to launch missiles into the Sea of Japan,’ the adviser said.
‘With the regime it’s not a matter of if – it’s when. We are well prepared to counter that,’ the adviser said.
U.S. officials have played down the prospect of any military strike against North Korea, which would likely provoke massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.
China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor, opposes its weapons program and has called for talks leading to a peaceful resolution and the denuclearization of the peninsula.
‘Military force cannot resolve the issue,’ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. ‘Amid tensions we will also find a kind of opportunity to return to talks.’
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also underscored fears about possible threats from North Korea, telling parliament in Tokyo that Pyongyang could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.
CIA director Mike Pompeo said North Korea was closer now than it had ever been to being able to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental missile and increased its technical know-how with each new test.
Experts do not believe North Korea has a deliverable long-range nuclear weapon, or intercontinental missiles.
But that could change within the next few years, as experts say North Korea could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the US mainland during Trump’s watch as president.
Aerial photos taken Tuesday show continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear site where US officials fear a nuclear device has been installed in a tunnel ahead of another test.
And Han, referring to North Korea as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said Friday: ‘If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK’s preemptive strike.
‘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.’
The message had been echoed in the days before, when North Korea said it would launch a ‘merciless retaliatory strike’ against US military action.
Pyongyang also recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts say it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually anytime.
For entire story: Daily Mail