Former US President Jimmy Carter said he would be ready to travel to North Korea for peace talks, if the administration wanted him to go on a diplomatic mission. But President Trump does not appear to be chomping at the bit to grab the opportunity for launching a diplomatic initiative.
Recent North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests suggest that the country now has the capability to hit the continental US. The CIA has assessed that North Korea’s Hwasong-14, the intercontinental ballistic missile tested twice in July, has the capability to reach the US with a nuclear payload. According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, North Korea may well have already developed a miniaturised nuclear warhead that could be delivered on an ICBM.
The defense chiefs of South Korea, the US and Japan met on October 23 at the 4th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) to emphasize the importance of strengthening their partnerships in maximizing pressure on North Korea.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group arrived in Busan, South Korea, on October 21 after participating in large-scale US-South Korean naval drills. Washington and Seoul started another military exercise on October 23. The annual Courageous Channel drills are to last five days. Pyongyang sees exercises as provocative actions, just like the strategic bombers’ flights. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho warned last month that his country reserves the right to shoot down US States strategic bombers even outside the national airspace.
US President Donald Trump said he is “totally prepared” to use military force against North Korea if necessary, in an interview with Fox News on October 22. Earlier this month, he dismissed the idea of dialogue as a “waste of time.”
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