Trump rejects diplomacy as a tool to counter North Korea
US President Donald Trump tweeted that "talking is not the answer" to counter North Korea's military ambitions. His statement comes after the North alarmingly launched a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, which Tokyo, a US ally, described as an "unprecedented" threat. Earlier, Trump had said, "all options are on the table" against Pyongyang. Trump's recent statements could indicate he's considering military action.
On August 29, the South Korean military said a North Korean ballistic missile was fired toward the East from a site near Pyongyang. It covered a distance of 2700 km, reaching up to a maximum altitude of 550 km and flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Local media reported that the missile broke into three pieces before dropping in the North Pacific Ocean.
On August 30, North Korean state media KCNA News quoted leader Kim Jong-un as saying that the missile launch was "the first step of the military operation… in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam." The North has repeatedly called the US Pacific territory of Guam "an advanced base of invasion." Kim had earlier threatened to attack Guam but subsequently backed down.
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
When asked if America had lost hope in diplomacy, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis openly disagreed with Trump, saying: "No. We are never out of diplomatic solutions." Mattis spoke beside his South Korean counterpart, Song Young-moo, at the Pentagon. "We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations," he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his American counterpart Rex Tillerson in a phone call that diplomacy was the sole means of de-escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula. Lavrov reportedly said a military solution would be "fraught with unpredictable consequences." He said further sanctions on the North would be counter-productive. Meanwhile, a North Korean diplomat rejected the "fabricated" stories blaming Pyongyang for ratcheting tensions.