“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that. … My political people would never say that, but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
So said President Donald J. Trump a little over a week ago about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The president extended the olive branch during an interview with Bloomberg News.
Needless to say, the comments were met with a great deal of puzzlement in the international community, given Kim’s mercurial, iron-fisted rule and his expansionist goals, especially with South Korea in his cross-hairs.
“I will quickly move to solve the crisis in national security. I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula – if needed, I will fly immediately to Washington. I will go to Beijing, and I will go to Tokyo. If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang.”
Thus said newly elected President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, expressing a radical shift in his country’s policy toward North Korea.
Again, the olive branch Moon extended to President Kim came as a surprise, given North Korea’s threats for decades to reduce Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to a “sea of fire.” In that regard, the regime in Pyongyang is moving forward at full speed with the development of nuclear weapons.
The comments from Trump and Moon were still reverberating Sunday when the North Korea leader literally slapped away the olive branches held out by the two presidents.
“ … the most perfect weapon systems in the world will never become the eternal exclusive property of the U.S. … the U.S. should not … disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in (North Korea’s) sighting range for strike.”
That statement from North Korea’s state media was a paraphrase of President Kim’s celebratory remarks after his country launched a new type of “medium long-range” ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.
Observers believe that the successful launch is a significant technological jump, with the test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer period than any other such previous missile.
Not surprisingly, there was global condemnation, including harsh words from the Trump White House.
Indeed, the administration’s statement included an observation that seemed to contradict President Trump’s initial comments about President Kim.
North Korea has been “a flagrant menace for far too long,” the statement said.
Sunday’s missile launch was the seventh such firing this year. And despite United Nations’ economic sanctions against a country that has long been shrouded in secrecy, Kim remains undaunted.
He said North Korea would stage more nuclear and missile tests in order to perfect nuclear bombs needed to deal with U.S. “nuclear blackmail.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who criticized the latest test-firing, said Pyongyang’s actions were “unacceptable,” but he also appeared to hold out an olive branch to Kim.
“ … we need to return to a dialogue with North Korea, stop intimidating it and find peaceful solutions,” Putin said.
The Russia leader is obviously blind to the reality that exists in the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is the rogue nation that has long envisioned uniting the two Koreas through the use of force.
It spends a majority of its operating budget on its military – even while widespread starvation has been the norm for decades.
In contrast to Putin’s myopic view, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was on the button when he called North Korea’s conduct “reckless,” “provocative” and “unlawful.”
Turnbull rightly noted that China has the most influence with the regime in Pyongyang and, therefore, has the “greatest responsibility for bringing North Korea to its senses.”
“They have the overwhelming dominant economic relationship with North Korea and because they have the greatest leverage, they have the great responsibility,” the Australian leader said.
It is clear that President Kim has only one goal: Make North Korea a major nuclear power so it can proceed with its expansionist policies.
He must be stopped.