At a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, President Donald Trump said his administration was looking at every option when it comes to responding to North Korea’s latest act of international provocation. On the heels of the Kim Jong Un regime’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile – capable of hitting Alaska – Trump said that while he would play his cards close to the vest, the rogue nation could not expect their actions to be tolerated.
“I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about,” Trump said. “Doesn’t mean we’re going to do them. I don’t draw red lines.”
That last remark, of course, being a shot across the bow at Barack Obama, who once drew such a line for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s a shame they’re behaving this way and they’re behaving in a very dangerous manner, and something will have to be done about it,” Trump continued.
At another point in the press conference, Trump called on all nations to “publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior.”
Meanwhile at a UN Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said that North Korea must face consequences for their latest test.
“The US is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” Haley said. “One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”
The U.S. is pushing the Security Council to approve new economic sanctions against North Korea, but there has been resistance from Russia and China. Furthermore, Haley appeared to understand that sanctions were somewhat meaningless if they were regularly undermined.
“There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging, trade with North Korea in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Haley said. “Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That’s not going to happen. Much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions rests with China. We will work with China, but we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day.”
China and Russia are urging the U.S. to suspend its South Korean training exercises, reduce its military presence in the Peninsula, and get North Korea back to the negotiating table. However, since Kim Jong Un has expressed no willingness whatsoever to roll back his nuclear program, the value of bilateral talks is dubious at best.
That leaves the U.S. with few good options, and, as Trump said, the ones we do have are indeed “pretty severe.”