When it comes to the renegade nation of North Korea, all options are on the Table. It appears that now there is a new plan being put on the table if not a new option. One by one, all the non-violent strategies have been used or discarded in attempting to deal with the rogue government and now President Trump is considering a wider range of options to deal with them, including all out military confrontation.
That was the message sent by Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster on Wednesday. “The threat is much more immediate now and so it’s clear that we can’t repeat the same failed approach of the past”. McMaster’s message was delivered at a security conference with Homeland Security Chief John Kelly. The National Security adviser said it would be insanity to continue to do the same thing the U.S. has done for years and expect a different result.
His remarks came just ahead of Mr. Trump’s Thursday meeting with South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in. President Moon has publicly vowed to stand firmly with Trump against North Korea, but in the past, Moon has advocated for an Obama style, softer gentler approach toward the communist regime. Moon said in comments prior to Mr. Trump’s visit, “Together we will achieve the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program, peace on the Korean Peninsula and eventually peace in Northeast Asia.”
Talks between Moon and Trump are slated to begin with dinner tonight then continue with formal discussions on Friday. The talks are destined to be somewhat tense between the two men, as China is urging Mr. Trump into direct negotiations with the North. But it is doubtful that President Trump will consider that option due to North Korea’s record on keeping promises made in negotiations. Plus Mr. Trump has grown frustrated with Beijing over what he sees as less than total commitment in applying economic pressure on the North.
Meanwhile, the North shows no desire to restart talks on abandoning its outlawed nuclear weapons program. Moon told The Washington Post that Kim Jong Un is “unreasonable” and “very dangerous” and that outside pressure was necessary. However, Moon also said sanctions would not end the current situation, that “under the right conditions,” dialog would also be necessary.
Another area of contention between Trump and Moon is the deployment of the THAAD Missile system. Moon, who opposed the system before he became president, has ordered an environmental review before allowing additional deployment of launchers for the THAAD system. South Korean officials say they are not placating China or reversing the decision to deploy the system, something which risks angering Washington.
Since the release and death of Otto Warmbler the U.S. has stepped up shows of military force near the Korean Peninsula. Warmbler, a university student, had spent 17 months in detention for stealing a propaganda poster. The North still holds three other Americans and six South Koreans.