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As North Korea is reported to be preparing for yet another salvo in the form of a nuclear or missile test, diplomats foresee a chain of events they fear could escalate into a deadly new Korean War.
Threats and bluster are part of a familiar and long running game of brinksmanship between Washington and Pyongyang, but this time, it has been made more dangerous by two volatile new players Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.
The current incarnation of North Korea's ruling dynasty, Kim Jong Un, is in his early 30s a callow youth and a less predictable character than his father, Kim Jong Il. In little more than five years in office, he has executed his uncle, ordered the assassination of his half brother and redoubled efforts to develop a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States.
Then, there Cheap Jerseys is President Trump, often prone to impulse and almost always undiplomatic, only 12 weeks in office and, like other new presidents, still learning on the job. Through his tweets and his words, Trump has promised to stop North Korea's progress toward becoming a nuclear power. "North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of," Trump said Thursday morning.
Trump's order last week to launch airstrikes against Syria to punish President Bashar Assad's government for a poison nfl shop gas attack just 63 hours earlier signaled to supporters his decisiveness, to critics his impetuousness. dropped its largest conventional bomb (nicknamed the "mother of all bombs") on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan.
"The most unpredictable part of this story is Trump, not North Korea. North Korea is doing what it always does," said Sue Mi Terry, a former cheap jerseys China CIA analyst who specializes in North Korea. She believes that Kim Jong Un, like his father, is essentially a rational player who will not launch a suicidal attack that would bring about the end of his regime. "There is a lot of brinksmanship going on, but people can miscalculate," she warned. "And things could go very, very wrong."
What might North Korea do?North Korea has indicated that it will do something to mark the 105th anniversary on Saturday of the birth of the modern country's founder, Kim Il Sung. Although Kim Jong Un in his new year's address warned that the country might test an intercontinental ballistic missile, military analysts believe that it isn't ready for testing.
North Korean official: We're ready for war if Trump wants it North Korea could test another short or medium range missile, a common enough occurrence, or a nuclear weapon. Satellite intelligence suggests that a nuclear test could be in the works. Security Council sanctions. respond?The Trump administration has been signaling that this time it will respond forcefully to another North Korean nuclear test. Officials have disparaged the Obama administration's policy toward North Korea, a strategy known as "strategic patience." No one knows whether Trump would take military action. destroyers in the region. would strike is unclear. North Korea's nuclear tests are conducted underground, and there is no obvious target that wouldn't have the risk of nuclear fallout. Analysts say it would be possible to retaliate through other means, such as attacking North Korea's submarine fleet off its east coast, something that could be accomplished more discreetly through sabotage than airstrikes.
"Trump needs to make sure he does something different from Obama in response to a nuclear test. Security Council, but they have to be sure they don't pursue a unilateral response that backfires or fails," said Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations. strike. mainland," North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper warned Tuesday. troops in South Korea and 50,000 in Japan are within striking distance. The most exposed are those stationed near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. The South Korean capital of Seoul lies only 30 miles away, making it vulnerable to conventional artillery dug into the mountainsides near the DMZ.
"There would be a great temptation for the North Koreans to throw a few artillery shells into Seoul. They might not be able to flatten the place, but they could do a lot of damage," said Carl Baker, a retired Air Force officer who was stationed in South Korea, now with the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu. and South Korean forces could beat North Korea. But a wounded North Korean regime could punish its adversaries with what strategists sometimes refer to as the last lash of the dragon's tail.
During an earlier showdown with North Korea in 1994, the Clinton administration weighed airstrikes to prevent North Korea from reprocessing fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The plan was scuttled after computer simulations showed that up to 1 million people could be killed by North Korean retaliation. The casualties could be even larger today because of new real estate developments in the northern suburbs of Seoul, Baker said.
"The Trump administration now is relearning the same lessons that we learned in 1994. Trump needs to understand that all options are not on the table," Baker said. airstrikes against North Korea, its traditional Communist ally, with the same type of language that Russia used in complaining about the American attack against its ally, the Syrian government. Analysts do not believe that China would directly step into the conflict today as it did during the 1950 1953 Korean War, when Mao Tse tung sent troops across the Yalu River to fight for North Korea. But Chinese leaders almost certainly would position themselves in a more confrontational position. "I would expect they would move forces toward the border to prevent North Koreans from fleeing into China and to prevent the Americans from becoming more adventurous," Baker said. allies of South Korea and Japan might be angrier than China if the United States took unilateral action because they stand to bear the brunt of North Korean retaliation.
Trump's strong stance toward North Korea could alienate South Koreans at a time when they are poised to vote for a new president. A special election is scheduled for May 9 to replace impeached President Park Geun Hye, and her successor is likely to be less conservative.
"The safety of South Korea is as important as that of the United States. There should never be a preemptive strike without South Korean consent," Moon Jae in, one of the leading candidates, said in a Facebook post. Moon also has said he would try to solve the problem by heading to Pyongyang, not Washington.
The question, he said at a Council on Foreign Relations discussion last month in New York, boils down to this: "Are we ready to go to war? And if we're not, what the hell are we talking about?"
If we don't want to go to war, what other options are there?Trump said he offered Chinese President Xi Jinping better terms on trade if China would do more to rein in North Korea. Almost all of North Korea's fuel oil, hard currency, construction material and imported food passes through the 850 mile border between the two countries. The United States also could apply pressure on China with so called secondary sanctions, which would target Chinese companies and banks that deal with North Korea.
And then, the Trump administration could consider direct negotiations with the North Koreans. During the campaign, Trump cheap football jerseys offhandedly raised the idea of inviting Kim Jong Un over for a hamburger. A North Korean delegation was supposed to come to New York last month for back channel talks, but after the assassination of Kim Jong Un's half brother, Kim Jong Nam, in Malaysia, the visa for the head of the delegation was abruptly canceled.