U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed any diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, saying “talking is not the answer,” one day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan that drew international condemnation.
Renewing his tough rhetoric toward North Korea, Trump wrote on Twitter, “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”
Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said in a statement on Tuesday that “all options are on the table.”
North Korea said the launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on Tuesday was to counter U.S. and South Korean military drills and was a first step in military action in the Pacific to “contain” the U.S. island territory of Guam.
The United Nations on Tuesday condemned as “outrageous” North Korea’s firing of the missile over Japan, demanding that the isolated country halt its weapons program but holding back on any threat of new sanctions.
A U.S. Congressional Research Service report said between 1995 and 2008, the United States provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in assistance. Slightly more than 50 percent was for food and about 40 percent for energy assistance. The assistance was part of a nuclear deal that North Korea later violated.
Since early 2009, the United States has provided virtually no aid to North Korea, though periodically there have been discussions about resuming large-scale food aid.
The latest tweet by the Republican U.S. president drew criticism from Democrats in Washington.
Responding to Trump’s message, Senator Chris Murphy wrote on Twitter: “Bar is high, but this is perhaps the most dangerous, irresponsible tweet of his entire Presidency. Millions of lives at stake – not a game.”
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, ordered the launch to be conducted for the first time from its capital, Pyongyang, and said more exercises with the Pacific as the target were needed, the North’s KCNA news agency said on Wednesday.
“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying. KPA stands for the Korean People’s Army.
Trump’s latest comments appeared to undercut his secretaries of defense and state, who have emphasized finding a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Earlier this month Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters the U.S. effort “is diplomatically led. It has diplomatic traction. It is gaining diplomatic results.”
North Korea this month threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near Guam, home to a major U.S. military presence, after President Donald Trump said the North would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
For its part, the U.S. Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency announced a “complex” and successful missile defense flight test off Hawaii early on Wednesday, intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile target.
The 15-member Security Council said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea take immediate, concrete actions to reduce tension and called on all states to implement U.N. sanctions. Continue reading.