Trump strategy on North Korea: 'Maximum pressure and engagement'

Jerome Frank
April 16, 2017

The sharp language came after US President Donald Trump said the North Korea problem "will be taken care of", as speculation mounts that the state could be preparing another nuclear or missile test.

North Korea is likely to mark Kim Il Sung's birthday on Saturday with a full military parade, according to NK News journalists now in Pyongyang.

Single-engine propeller-powered planes flew in a 105 formation overhead.

Unlike at some previous parades attended by Kim, there did not appear to be any a senior Chinese official in attendance.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests previous year alone, advancing its goal to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles. "At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place".

North Korea's vice foreign minister warned the US on Friday that President Donald Trump's "aggressive" tweets are "making trouble" - and could potentially lead to a war between the two countries.

Chinese experts said they see little immediate possibility of hostilities breaking out, but warned that Beijing will respond harshly to any further North Korean nuclear tests.

"It is still early days for these missile designs".

A USA military official, who requested anonymity to discuss planning, said the United States doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.

The United States has recently stated several times that they are considering all possible options for action in relation to the DPRK.

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North Korea has warned the United States not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks".

Kim Jong-Yin, the current chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is expected to deliver a speech. This sort of scenario-beefed up US naval presence combined with a North Korean weapons test-has happened before, quite recently in fact.

It argued that the Trump administration's "serious military hysteria has reached a risky phase which can no longer be overlooked".

In this connection, the General Staff warned that "the people and army of the DPRK will take the most resolute countermeasures in response to the hostile political, economic and military actions of the United States". U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

Pyongyang could use the parade as a show of strength in preference to a nuclear test, analysts said. Most analysts believe North Korea is still at least several years away from that capacity, but Pyongyang already has weapons that pose a serious threat to USA allies South Korea and Japan, and US troops based in those countries.

"It suggests a commitment to this program", said Pollack. "Multiple SLBMs seems like a declaration of intent to advance the programme".

Kim did not address the rally, but his close aide Choe Ryong-Hae gave a defiant speech saying that Pyongyang would react in kind to any provocation - nuclear or otherwise.

"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 USA pre-emptive strike".

Any fighting on the Korean Peninsula is likely to draw in China, which has repeatedly expressed concerns about a wave of refugees and the possible presence of US and South Korean troops on its border.

Trump has dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and an accompanying battle group to the Korean peninsula.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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