Tensions escalated sharply today as U.S. Navy war ships, led by a nuclear-powered aircraft, steamed toward the Korean Peninsula and President Donald Trump sent a stern warning to North Korea via Twitter. Trump warned that North Korea is “looking for trouble” and the United States is going to “solve the problem” with or without China’s help.
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— President Trump (@POTUS) April 11, 2017
The message came as the North Korean state media threatened a nuclear attack on the United States should it take any military action against them. Kim Jong Un’s regime said it was “ready for war.“
North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country was prepared to respond to any aggression by the United States.
“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland,” it said.
On Monday, Pyongyang put out a statement saying, “We will make the US fully accountable for the catastrophic consequences that may be brought about by its high-handed and outrageous acts.”
Trump’s tweet, according to the Telegraph, is an attempt “to pressure China to rein in its rogue neighbor.”
He tweeted that he had told Xi Jinping, the country’s president, who made a state visit to the US last week, that “a trade deal with the US will be far better” if Beijing solves the “North Korea problem”.
China and South Korea agreed at a meeting on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea should it carry out further nuclear or long-range missile tests. But it remains hesitant to commit to military action.
Meanwhile, according to reports in South Korean media, the Chinese army has “deployed 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for pre-emptive attacks after the United States dropped airstrikes on Syria.”
Via the Daily Mail:
President Donald Trump’s missile strike on Syria on Friday was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea. And now China, left shocked by the air strikes, has deployed medical and backup units from the People’s Liberation Army forces to the Yalu River, Korea’s Chosun.com reported.
The troops have been dispatched to handle North Korean refugees and ‘unforeseen circumstances’, such as the prospect of preemptive attacks on North Korea, the news agency said.
A spokeswoman for South Korea’s foreign ministry, however, said she was not aware of the reported troop movements, and Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, said there was no mention regarding potential military actions in his talks with the Chinese on Monday.
The threats coming from North Korea are different this time, said former UN ambassador John Bolton on Fox News Tuesday.
“After eight years of watching North Korea develop its ballistic and nuclear missile capabilities, we’re very close to the point where they’ll be able to deliver one of those nuclear warheads to the United States,” he said. “I think the time pressure here has accelerated, and the risks involved, given what we’ve just seen in Syria, are now a little bit clearer to the Chinese than they were before.”