Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday not to test American resolve, but he also raised the possibility that the Trump administration could pursue talks. The message, delivered by Mr. Pence on a visit to South Korea that included a stop at the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula, showed that the administration, while talking tough, was not ruling out negotiations.
China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve.
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency on North Korea lies a stark calculus: that the country is capable of making a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks. “People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem,” Mr. Trump said. He made his remarks after a Sunday night phone call on North Korea with Xi Jinping, China’s president, who urged Mr. Trump to show “restraint” with North Korea, according to a Chinese television report.
Donald Trump’s latest moves toward North Korea are “dangerous” and sow confusion in a tense geopolitical scenario, says veteran Korea analyst Daniel C Sneider. Trump’s recent declaration that he ordered a US carrier strike group to race toward Korea when there was no such force in the vicinity undercuts American credibility and increases the possibility of a misstep, said Sneider, associate director of research for Stanford University’s Walter H Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.
With many Koreans still aggravated by U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial comment that "Korea used to be a part of China," his closest business partner, Vice President Mike Pence, has jangled their nerves again. During a Tuesday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence called the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan the "Sea of Japan." The name has been a long-standing point of conflict between Seoul and Tokyo, which the former has promoted as the "East Sea."
Russia raised the level of alert for its air defense system just a few hours after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday and after Washington and Moscow clashed at the United Nations over a possible military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Lawmakers said they came away convinced that the Trump administration recognized the urgency of the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where Pyongyang conducted a failed missile test last week and drew international condemnation for the launch. But several members of Congress said the administration remained vague about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump.
Moon will take office at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea. To understand what kind of policy he will pursue requires familiarity with liberal foreign-policy thinking in South Korea since the 1998-2003 presidency of Kim Dae-jung. Kim had watched the Cold War come to a peaceful end in Europe, and he wanted to bring his own country’s ongoing confrontation with the communist North to a similarly non-violent conclusion.
Much of South Korea has been within range of Pyongyang’s artillery, unguided rockets, and short-range missiles, for some time. Indeed, such threats against Seoul and its huge metropolitan surroundings have existed for many years. As for Japan, North Korea has long had the ability to deliver some type of warhead to much of the island nation. However, without a reliable re-entry vehicle to protect a nuclear device during re-entry into the atmosphere, a missile of any longer range adds little to the threat level for Seoul or Tokyo.
In a diplomatic gamble, President Trump is seeking to enlist China as a peacemaker in the bristling nuclear-edged dispute with North Korea at the very moment he plans to ratchet up conflict with Beijing over trade issues that have animated his political rise.