It’s no secret things have beeen heating up with North Korea, and a lot more happened over the holiday weekend that you may have missed.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un launched a failed missile test Sunday, after a strong show of force during the Day of Sun celebrations Saturday, when Kim’s regime showcased new missiles and launchers during a large-scale military parade.
The missile launch took place in Sinpo, a port city near eastern North Korea, CNN reported. U.S. and South Korean defense officials are trying to determine what type of missile was used. Initial reports, according to a White House foreign policy adviser, indicate it could have been a medium-range missile.
“[President Donald Trump] and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Sunday.
But a lot has been said since then.
Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence called North Korea’s failed missile test “a provocation” that made clear the risks facing both the region and the United States, The New York Times reported.
“This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face each and every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Pence said during an Easter dinner at Yongsan military base in Seoul, South Korea.
Putting an even finer point on the U.S.’s relationship with Kim moving forward, the vice president said: “The era of strategic patience is over.”
— CNN (@CNN) April 17, 2017
Pence added that “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea and called on China “to do more” to push back against aggressive behavior coming out of Pyongyang.
“The people of North Korea, the military of North Korea, should not mistake the resolve of the United States of America to stand with our allies,” he said.
In addition, K.T. McFarland, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, who wouldn’t comment on whether the U.S. sabotaged North Korea’s missile test, told Fox News, “The threat is upon us,” adding, “This is something President Trump is going to deal with in the first year.”
And Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser, offered perhaps the clearest message on ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday morning. He said the problem of North Korea’s nuclear threat is “coming to a head.”
“It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully,” he said.
McMaster said this latest failed missile test “just fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime.” He went on to suggest there is an “international consensus” — including China — that Pyongyang must be dealt with.
“The president has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons,” McMaster continued.
However, earlier this month, during an interview with Financial Times, Trump said the U.S. is prepared to act alone — without China, if necessary — in order to deal with Kim’s regime.
“China has great influence over North Korea,” he said. “And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
To date, United Nations resolutions have failed to deter North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons. North Korea conducted five nuclear tests over the past decade and, in 2016 alone, Kim’s regime launched more than 20 ballistic missile tests, according to the Times.
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