The Trump administration has made it clear that this new U.S. government won’t tolerate North Korea ramping up its nuclear weapons program.
President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. will punish North Korea appropriately with or without China’s help.
Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson to sail off the Korean peninsula. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday that the Navy Ships would arrive “within days.” Then two Japanese Navy ships joined the the U.S. fleet to participate in exercises in the Philippine Sea.
“The Vinson and two other U.S. warships were joined by two Japanese destroyers as they continued their journey north in the western Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. The U.S. group also includes a guided-missile cruiser and a guided-missile destroyer,” writes Fox News. “The aircraft carrier had canceled a scheduled visit to Australia to divert toward North Korea in a show of force, though it still conducted a curtailed training exercise with Australia before doing so.”
This influenced North Korea to threaten to show-off its military prowess.
“Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” according to the Rodong Sinmum, North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party’s newspaper.
The paper also undermined the USS Carl Vinson calling a its “gross animal” and said if they were to strike the carrier it would be “an actual example to show our military’s force.”
Then Kim Jong-il’s government detained a U.S. citizen on Sunday.
“The detention was confirmed to CNN and The Associated Press by an official at the Swedish Embassy, which represents American interests in North Korea. Both the AP and WSJ reported that the name of the man held is Tony Kim, which brings to three the number of Americans being held by the reclusive North Korean regime,” writes CNBC.
“The cause of his arrest is not known but some officials at PUST told me his arrest was not related to his work at PUST. He had been involved with some other activities outside PUST such as helping an orphanage,” said Chan-Mo Park, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) chancellor, where Kim was teaching an accounting course.
In response to the detainment, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said that the agency is “aware” of the arrest and that “the protection of U.S. citizens is one of the Department’s highest priorities.”
North Korea is holding two other Americans.
“Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student, was detained in January last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by a North Korean court for attempting to steal a propaganda banner,” writes Reuters. “In March 2016, Kim Dong Chul, a 62-year-old Korean-American missionary, was sentenced to 10 years hard labor for subversion. There have been no public appearances of either man since.”
As tensions between North Korea and the U.S. heighten, U.S. allies South Korea and Japan are planning to meet with U.S. representatives.
The foreign ministry in Seoul said the countries would “discuss plans to rein in North Korea’s additional high-strength provocations, to maximize pressure on the North, and to ensure China’s constructive role in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue.”
Experts believe that North Korea will be conducting its sixth nuclear test any day now since the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army is on Tuesday.
Author’s note: This has escalated much more quickly than anticipated. It looked as though Trump’s “good cop, bad cop” plan with China may be peaking early. Will the U.S. be forced to give the country a lesson?