North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un – described only last week by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as the “crazy fat kid” – now is threatening a “big event” and “nuclear thunderbolts.”
The close ally of China has become bolder in its rhetoric in recent years as Barack Obama’s foreign policy has left American enemies wondering about Washington’s willingness to defend itself.
North Korea has done several tests of nuclear devices in defiance of international bans and has issued multiple threats to kill Americans and destroy the U.S.
However, under President Trump, the U.S. has been clear about its intent to destroy ISIS, as was this week with the delivery of a gigantic, nearly 11-ton bomb on ISIS fortifications in Afghanistan.
Trump also has been pressuring China for fairer trade policies and to crack down on Pyongyang.
Something must have worked, as the North Korean news agency on Friday blasted its “long-standing ally China” and implied Beijing was “‘cooperating’ with Washington for the collapse of North Korea.”
The agency also reported Pyongyang’s threats to deliver “nuclear thunderbolts.”
Business Insider said while the rhetoric from North Korea is continuing – it has announced plans for yet another “provocative nuclear test on Saturday” – there apparently now is pressure from China.
“Currently, with the cooperation of ‘somebody,’ the U.S. is planning to collapse our system, the action that is such a naïve and foolish delusion,” stated a North Korean think tank.
China recently refused shipments of coal from North Korea, delivering a body blow to the nation’s economy.
Additionally, Air China on Friday suspended some traffic to North Korea, according to the South China Morning Post.
China, North Korea’s biggest economic backer for decades, suddenly appears to have become enlightened “since U.S. President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week and threatened trade retaliation against China should it fail to cooperate on denuclearizing North Korea,” the report said.
North Korea’s newest saber-rattling comes after there was word from unidentified U.S. intelligence officials, via NBC, that the nation is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea – with conventional weapons – if it appears North Korea is going forward with more nuclear testing.
Kim Jong Un has said a “big event” is coming, and U.S. officials revealed the the U.S. has dispatched two destroyers to an area just 300 miles from North Korea’s nuclear test site.
The U.S. also has bombers stationed in Guam, and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is moving into the region.
Many of the countries in the region now are on alert, as the unstable North Korean regime might not follow predictions. Both South Korea and Japan have expressed worry.
In a recent statement, the North Korean government said, “By relentlessly bringing in a number of strategic nuclear assets to the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is gravely threatening the peace and safety and driving the situation to the brink of a nuclear war.”
While North Korea has detonated nuclear weapons, many experts are in doubt whether the rogue nation has the capability of delivering them to a target.
President Trump’s strategy hasn’t been complicated: He’s even taken to Twitter to talk about it.
He wants China, in return for the opportunity of a better trade deal with the U.S., to pressure North Korea into backing off its nuclear programs and threats.
Shortly after his meeting with China’s president, Trump said, “I explained to the president of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if the solve the North Korean problem!”
The Trump administration, through Defense Secretary James Mattis, earlier issued notice to North Korea. At the time, he called North Korea “reckless,” and said, “That has got to be stopped.”
While North Korea may not be able to deliver a nuclear weapon in an operational capacity to its enemies, analysts suggest it’s unwise to discount the possibility entirely.
“Any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technological challenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design,” warned The Hill.
CNBC reported Friday that China was concerned the conflict with North Korea “had to be stopped from reaching an ‘irreversible and unmanageable stage.'”
It said concerns “have grown” since President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to a deadly sarin nerve gas in which nearly 100 people died.
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to travel to South Korea Sunday.
CNBC reported Chinese officials appeared ready to work to rein in North Korea.
“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” said Chinese Foreign Miister Wang Yi.
The South China Morning Post warned conflict “could break out ‘at any moment.'”
And it quoted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying there would be “no winner” in a war.
It said President Trump’s move to bomb a Syrian airfield and the ISIS compound in Afghanistan are “an implicit warning to North Korea that Washington it not afraid to use force.”
The Chinese paper said Trump “has repeatedly said he will prevent Pyongyang from its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.”