US not rul­ing out use of force on North Korea

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - World -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Satur­day that diplo­matic ef­forts with North Korea have con­sis­tently failed, adding that "only one thing will work."

Trump has en­gaged in an es­ca­lat­ing war of words with North Korean strong­man Kim Jong-Un, trad­ing in­sults amid ris­ing ten­sions be­tween the two nu­clear-armed ri­vals.

"Pres­i­dents and their ad­min­is­tra­tions have been talk­ing to North Korea for 25 years, agree­ments made and mas­sive amounts of money paid," Trump tweeted.

It "hasn't worked, agree­ments vi­o­lated be­fore the ink was dry, mak­ings fools of U.S. ne­go­tia­tors. Sorry, but only one thing will work!"

Trump re­turned to the theme when he ap­peared on for­mer gover­nor Mike Huck­abee's show on Trin­ity Broad­cast­ing Net­work tele­vi­sion on Satur­day, blam­ing pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions for not hav­ing ad­e­quately ad­dressed the is­sue be­fore.

This "should have been han­dled 25 years ago, it should have been han­dled 10 years ago, it should haven been han­dled dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion," the pres­i­dent said, re­fer­ring to his Demo­cratic pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama.

The US has not ruled out the use of force to com­pel Py­ongyang to halt mis­sile and nu­clear tests, and Trump has threat­ened to de­stroy the coun­try.

The mer­cu­rial Amer­i­can pres­i­dent also told jour­nal­ists at a re­cent gath­er­ing with mil­i­tary lead­ers to dis­cuss Iran, North Korea and the Is­lamic State group that the cur­rent pe­riod "could be the calm be­fore the storm," de­clin­ing to clar­ify his re­marks.

In re­cent days, as Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son flew home from meet­ing with top Chi­nese of­fi­cials, Trump tweeted that his en­voy was "wast­ing his time" in try­ing to probe North Korea's will­ing­ness to talk.

The mes­sage came af­ter Tiller­son had re­vealed there were backchan­nels be­tween US and North Korean of­fi­cials.

Sec­re­tary of De­fence James Mat­tis later ex­pressed sup­port for the diplo­matic track in tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee.

"The De­fense De­part­ment sup­ports fully Sec­re­tary Tiller­son's ef­forts to find a diplo­matic so­lu­tion, but re­mains fo­cused on de­fense of the United States and our al­lies," Mat­tis said.

In his de­but speech at the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly, Trump threat­ened to "to­tally de­stroy" North Korea if it threat­ens the US or any of its al­lies, de­rid­ing Kim as "Rocket Man" and warn­ing he is on a "sui­cide mis­sion."

Kim re­sponded by call­ing Trump a "men­tally de­ranged do­tard." (AFP)

Trump's ad­min­is­tra­tion has also been at the fore­front of a drive to im­pose a se­ries of sanc­tions against North Korea in re­sponse to its sixth nu­clear test -- the largest yet -- and the fir­ing of two mis­siles over Ja­pan.

North Korea's main eco­nomic part­ner China has signed up to the sanc­tions, in­clud­ing re­stric­tions on im­ports, as has Rus­sia.

The United States fought a bloody con­flict in Korea from 1950-1953 that ul­ti­mately ended in stale­mate and the con­tin­ued di­vi­sion of the penin­sula af­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chi­nese troops en­tered on the side of the north, turn­ing it into a war of at­tri­tion.

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