Donald Trump Orders Military Strikes on Pyongyang
Donald Trump authorized military strikes on North Korea to silence the “threatening rhetoric and behavior” from the rogue regime, the president said on Wednesday.
“We have decided to take pre-emptive military action in response to North Korea’s continued threatening rhetoric and behavior,” Mr. Trump told reporters on board Air Force One en route to California.
Mr. Trump and members of his administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have for some time denounced the conduct of Kim Jong-un’s regime and have stressed that they are working toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
But on Wednesday morning Mr. Trump said that “effective immediately” the U.S. would “remove the threat” posed by Kim Jong-un’s regime. He added that “provocations” against the U.S. and its allies in the region would now result in an immediate military response.
“We are going to take care of it,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s going to be taken care of.”
"We are taking pre-emptive military action in response to North Korea's continued threatening rhetoric and behavior." We are going to take care of it," says President Trump. #TrumpAtTheYemen pic.twitter.com/MDRS1nlMAD — CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) May 29, 2019
Trump administration officials were quick to work to clarify the President’s statement in the hours following the announcement. On Thursday, Pompeo denied that Mr. Trump had indeed ordered military strikes against North Korea and said that the President had only mentioned an “eye for an eye” approach in response to Kim Jong-un’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests, which last year included the launch of a missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
“What the President said was that we may be forced to take additional measures, not to name which country, but he said to take it to the next level if North Korea does not stop,” Pompeo said. “Our message is North Korea has a choice, either behave responsibly, engage in genuine denuclearization or, as the President said, ‘we are going to start escalating the pressure.'”
Pompeo was more circumspect in his responses to the president’s on Thursday.
“I am confident that the president and the military leadership that he has put in place in terms of Cabinet chiefs and others, that’s all of us have that responsibility to make sure that we are prepared and that we are taking appropriate steps,” he said.
But he also left the door open to the possible deployment of U.S. forces north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
“America’s mission is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the weapons of mass destruction, and we will continue to be prepared to defend ourselves, and by the American people,” Pompeo said.
It is impossible to predict the precise consequences of any military action against North Korea. “This is uncharted territory. It’s unthinkable for this president and for this administration,” a senior White House official told CNN.
The next test for the Trump administration will be in its commitment to maintaining U.S. diplomatic and military ties with North Korea. Trump has not ruled out a summit with Kim Jong-un to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. It is unknown whether any specific message has been conveyed to the North Korean government over Mr. Trump’s latest military strike announcement.