Monday 23 April 2018

Donald Trump says 'talking is not the answer' as North Korea vows there's 'more missiles to come'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump are trading rhetoric (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump are trading rhetoric (AP)

Emily Shugerman

Donald Trump has said "talking is not the answer" to the current diplomatic crisis with North Korea, after Pyongyang launched a missile over one of Japan's main islands.

"The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years," the US President tweeted. "Talking is not the answer!"

Days before, the North Korean regime had taken the unprecedented step of launching a missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The launch followed several other missile tests – plus, the revelation that North Korea had missiles capable of reaching the US – in the weeks proceeding.

Mr Trump initially threatened to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea, but had since toned down his rhetoric. At a recent campaign rally, he told supporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was "starting to respect us".

“And maybe, probably not, but maybe something positive can come about," he said.

The 29 August missile launch changed that. South Korea responded by dropping eight heavy bombs near its border with the North, in what it called a show of "overwhelming force". Mr Trump declared ominously that "all options are on the table".

President Donald Trump has tweeted about North Korea. (AP)
President Donald Trump has tweeted about North Korea. (AP)

"The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear," he said in a statement. "This regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour."

Read More: North Korea says 'more missiles to come' as UN condemns 'outrageous' military action

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, also pushed for "something serious to happen" in regards to the conflict. The UN Security Council had already voted to impose an estimated $1bn in sanctions against the isolated North Korean regime.

Others, however, preached restraint. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the missile launch a “provocative act”, but said the US will continue to seek a peaceful resolution with the North Korean regime.

The United States, he said, would pursue a "peaceful pressure campaign;" collaborating with allies and working to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

China's Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China also saw an opportunity for peace talks, though she acknowledged the crisis was “approaching a critical juncture”. Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called Mr Trump's rhetoric on the situation "troubling".

North Korea stands to lose around a third of its export revenue from the new sanctions (Lee Jin-man/AP/PA)
North Korea stands to lose around a third of its export revenue from the new sanctions (Lee Jin-man/AP/PA)

“It's troubling, because tensions are high and whose nerves are stronger, we don't know," he said.

The test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, according to the North Korean government (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, according to the North Korean government (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

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