Last Monday, he called on Security Council members to impose “stronger sanctions” on North Korea, heightening tensions by claiming the DPRK “is a real threat to the world…and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve.”
Pyongyang called the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group deployed off the Korean peninsula “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.”
China’s President Xi Jinping called for all sides to show “restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation on the peninsula.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump will hold a briefing for all 100 senators on North Korea. Reportedly a similar session is planned for House members – both meetings to be held in a “sensitive compartmented information facility” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Secretary of Defense Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, and Secretary of State Tillerson will conduct the briefing.
On April 25, marking the anniversary of the founding of its army, North Korea held live-fire drills, involving hundreds of artillery pieces – instead of a sixth nuclear test some observers expected.
According to China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies Foreign Policy director Zhang Tuosheng, pressure from China, Washington, South Korea and Japan got Pyongyang to show restraint – whether short or longer-term remains to be seen.
“Beijing sent a clear message to Kim Jong-un that a nuclear test would lead to an impasse,” Tuosheng explained.
Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said “(w)e hope that all parties, including Japan, can work with China to promote an early peaceful resolution of the issue…”
Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defense Studies Zhou Chenming believes Pyongyang will delay another nuclear test at least until after South Korea’s May 9 presidential election, hoping to discourage voters from choosing a hardline leader.
In a US show of force, the guided-missile nuclear submarine USS Michigan arrived in Busan, South Korea – the same day Pyongyang’s People’s Army celebrated its 85th anniversary.
On Tuesday, China’s Global Times, representing Beijing’s position, stressed “(s)ticks alone are not enough to prompt North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile activities. The international community should acknowledge the importance of the carrot.”
Pyongyang understands “the consequences if it continues to act recklessly. What it is uncertain about, though, is what benefit it will get if it stops nuclear and missile activities.”
Washington broke earlier promises to its government, undermining trust, making resolution of the current crisis much harder.
Pyongyang justifiably believes America wants its government toppled, knowing it’s vulnerable if it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile deterrents.
Trump’s rage for war heightens concerns. Waging it on the Korean peninsula risks possible nuclear confrontation – what all regional nations want avoided above all else.