A member of President Trump’s National Security Council said Tuesday that North Korea could be trying to force the U.S. to abandon their support for South Korea with their increasingly-unhinged rhetoric and their pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
Matt Pottinger, who is one of the president’s chief security advisers on the Pacific region, said that “deterrence” was only one facet of Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons development program.
“They have made no secret in conversations they have had with former American officials, for example, and others that they want to use these weapons as an instrument of blackmail to achieve other goals, even including perhaps coercive reunification of the Korean Peninsula one day,” Pottinger said.
The national security expert reiterated that the U.S. was not looking to knock Kim Jong Un out of power in North Korea, but he said it was no longer acceptable to sit back and wait for the dictator to expand his WMD arsenal.
“We really have no choice but to increase pressure on North Korea to diplomatically isolate them, to bring a greater economic pain to bear until they are willing to make concrete steps to start reducing that threat,” he said.
The brunt of Trump’s strategy on Pyongyang appears to still rest on China’s cooperation; without the help of their Communist neighbors, North Korea would have crumbled under international sanctions a long time ago. Experts remain skeptical about President Xi Jinping’s willingness to bring adequate pressure to bear on the Kim regime, but a new piece of commentary published by North Korean state media could hint at the Chinese government’s changing stance.
The Korean Central News Agency criticized recent editorials in China’s state media, which had urged tougher sanctions on North Korea.
“A string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China every day only to render the present bad situation tenser,” the commentary stated. “China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.
“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China,” the commentary concluded.
If this commentary is any indication, North Korea could be all by its lonesome very soon. Isolated and out of options, Kim Jong Un will either have to finally make good on his threats to destroy any country within missile range or submit to international pressure at long last.
We may be nearing the time when we’ll find out once and for all just how mad the North Korean dictator really is.