Trump must avoid escalatory rhetoricby Cristina Varriale / April 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
The lack of a coherent US policy on the North Korean nuclear and missile programmes is causing great uncertainty on the Korean peninsula. Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump’s administration has amplified tensions in a region that is home to a dictator committed to owning a credible nuclear arsenal.
On 15th April, all eyes were on North Korea. It paraded its military strength through the streets of Pyongyang on the Day of the Sun—a celebration of the anniversary of the birth of its founder. This display was followed by the test of an unidentified medium-range missile, which exploded almost immediately after launch.
Since taking office, President Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes has been a mess. He has stated, vaguely, that a North Korean ballistic missile test “won’t happen.” He has talked of “solving the problem” of North Korea without China—considered by many the key to reining in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. More worryingly still, there have been reports that Trump may launch a pre-emptive strike if North Korea continues with provocative behaviour. Other officials in his administration have reiterated that Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” is over.
Obama’s approach has indeed been terminated, but the gap has not been filled with coherent rhetoric, causing the level of unpredictability within the region to soar. Although a review of the US’ long-term policy on North Korea wa…