US President Donald Trump has doubled down on his rhetoric against North Korea warning that US might consider a pre-emptive strike against the regime.
Tensions between North Korea and the US have significantly risen in the recent weeks with both nations threatening military strikes.
The relationship between the US and North Korea has always been fractious. During the war between North and South Korea in 1950, US forces successfully intervened on behalf of South Korea. To this day, there are 28,500 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in South Korea as part of United States Forces Korea (USFK).
In July 2017, North Korea successfully test launched two ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile). According to experts, both ICBMs could reach America. The UN has imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea in retaliation. The resolution targets North Korea's primary exports and could significantly cut into the country’s annual export revenue. Additionally, Nikki Haley the US ambassador to the United Nations has warned that the US is ready to take military action.
Trump has taken an aggressive stance while countering North Korea. Recently he said that the country “will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea responded by announcing that plans were underway for it to strike Guam, a US territory. A statement from the state-run news agency KCNA noted that the government was “seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US.”
Trump is currently on a 17-day “working” vacation where he took the time to speak to reporters. He said, “If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack, of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous. I'll tell you why, and they should be very nervous. Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”
Meanwhile, Australia has signaled that if the US were attacked, then it would come to aid. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull noted that the Anzus Treaty would be activated with any attack on US.
South Korea and Japan have been working to counter escalation as any conflict between North Korea and the US would jeopardize the security of these nations.
Our assessment is that while Donald Trump has issued powerful threats towards North Korea, the US will still try seeking a diplomatic resolution. The US is still not certain whether it can shoot down missiles fired by North Korea before it land back home or a territory where they operate. It would be terribly embarrassing for the US if one of the missiles break the missile defense and cause even limited damage. If this were to happen, we are certain that the US would unleash hell and fury on Pyong yang. A nuclear war would risk the lives of millions of people in the Korean peninsula and also neighboring regions of Japan