Donald Trump stirs up North Korean anger. The US president said Thursday that his formula, “the fire and anger” he promises to Pyongyang in the event of an attack, may not be severe enough. Yet on the side of the White House, one is less martial, and one insists that “the American effort is carried by the diplomacy,” said Jim Mattis, the American Minister of Defense. There are “diplomatic results and I want to stay on that momentum,” he said during a trip to California where he warned against the “catastrophic” scenario of an armed conflict.
Accused by Kim Jong-un’s regime of having lost his reason, the American president defended his controversial formula on “fire and anger”, considering that it was “perhaps not hard enough”. “It’s about time someone speaks loudly to the people of our country and the people of other countries,” he said from his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he spends his holidays. Pyongyang presented its detailed plan to shoot four missiles over Japan to the US territory of Guam, a strategic outpost of US forces in the Pacific on the road to Asia. This will be “a crucial warning to the United States,” North Korea warned.
This rhetorical war around Pyongyang’s ballistic and nuclear programs fuels fears of a miscalculation that would have catastrophic consequences on the Korean peninsula and beyond. In July, the North conducted two successful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) shots, putting much of the American continent within reach, the last of which had even passed close to an Air France plane flying between Tokyo and Paris.
China to rise to the niche
When questioned about possible preemptive strikes, Donald Trump remained evasive. “We do not express ourselves on that. I never do it […]. We’ll see what happens, “he said, in the aftermath of a particularly threatening tweet in which he insisted on the power of the US nuclear arsenal. “We are preparing for many different scenarios,” he added. “If North Korea does anything – even thinking of attacking people we love, or our allies, or ourselves – they will really have to worry. “Australia offered its support to the US on Friday morning in the event of a North Korean attack. The region is at risk of “a mini-Cuban missile crisis,” said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul. In 1962,
Reaffirming that China, the main economic partner of Pyongyang, could “do much more” to put pressure on the regime of Kim Jong-un, the American president expressed his conviction that the lines would move on this front. “They know what I think. It will not go on like that, “he said. In a tense climate, the European Union said on Thursday it had added new North Korean personalities and entities to its blacklist, which now includes 103 people and 57 entities, including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB).
Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks are “absurd,” said General Rak-Gyom, the commander of North Korean ballistic forces, quoted by the official KCNA news agency. “A sensible dialogue is not possible with a guy like that who has lost his reason. The North Korean army will bring the final touches to its project against Guam by mid-August and will submit it for evaluation to the young North Korean leader, he added. Four missiles will be fired simultaneously and will fly over the Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima, and Koichi, the army said. The aircraft “will fly 17 minutes and 45 seconds over a distance of 3,356.7 kilometers, and will crash at sea 30 to 40 kilometers from Guam.” They would thus be damaged outside the territorial waters of the United States.
Hitting the US defense
Located in the western Pacific, about 3,500 kilometers from North Korea, Guam has strategic US facilities – heavy long-range bombers, hunters, and submarines – that regularly participate in demonstrations of force on and near the peninsula Korean, to the great fury of Pyongyang. Guam, an island with 162,000 inhabitants, is also equipped with a THAAD anti-missile shield.
According to the analysts, shooting at Guam would place Washington in a delicate position: if it does not attempt to intercept them, its credibility would take a hit and Pyongyang would feel the wings to conduct a life-sized ICBM test. Tensions on the Korean peninsula are worsening at the time of the joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, and the next ones begin around 21 August.
Thousands of North Koreans marched on Wednesday, with their fists raised, in the streets of Pyongyang, where authorities organized demonstrations of support. “Ten million hearts are inflamed with the promise to defend the motherland until death,” proclaimed a banner.