If North Korea were a mental patient, it would be on suicide watch.
Kim Jong Un, never the most sedate and stable of world leaders, appears to be running toward a gasoline dump with a stick of lit dynamite clenched between his teeth. A report from Fox News this morning reveals that the North Korean military has loaded two anti-ship missiles on a guided missile patrol boat, signaling the possibility that the country may be readying another missile test.
The patrol boat was caught on U.S. spy satellites at Toejo Dong on North Korea’s east coast.
“North Korea is not showing any evidence it plans to halt its missile tests,” said one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “It’s a trend that does not bode well for hopes of de-escalating tensions on the [Korean] peninsula.”
The latest moves by Pyongyang point to a likely missile test in the days ahead or it could be a defense measure should the U.S. Navy dispatch more warships to the Korean peninsula, officials said.
President Trump on Monday afternoon voiced his displeasure about the coverage of the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote over the weekend to sanction Pyongyang. “The Fake News Media will not talk about the importance of the United Nations Security Council’s 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on N. Korea!” Trump tweeted.
Meantime, there currently are limits to the size of the warheads South Korea is allowed to deploy on top of its missiles. But following a talk between leaders of South Korea and the United States, the Pentagon is working on allowing changes to the policy.
“Yes, we are working on it,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. “It’s a topic under active consideration here, and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea.”
The United States removed its tactical nuclear missiles from South Korea in 1991.
North Korea’s over-the-top response to the new UN sanctions precipitated a “right back at ya” from Trump:
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” warned Mr. Trump from his golf club in Bedminster.
“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he told reporters. “He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement,” Mr. Trump said of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Why didn’t I build that bomb shelter when I thought about it last November?
Kim has taken his country to the very end of a very short, very thin limb. He has trapped himself by his own actions and rhetoric and now finds it impossible to climb down without perhaps losing his head.
If he gives in to negotiations now, his enemies will pounce and the rumored ravenous dogs in the cellar of one of Kim’s houses will be well fed. So Kim keeps ratcheting up the crisis, hoping that some nation — China? — will step between him and the U.S. and force negotiations.
As for Trump, there may be better ways to be firm with North Korea without it appearing that he’s threatening to nuke them. But with reports that the North Koreans have been able to marry a nuclear warhead to an ICBM, the crisis is accelerating out of control and it might take only one bellicose move from Kim to ignite a war.
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