America Should Not Fall for North Korea’s Belligerence

    Gracy Olmstead

    Security, Asia

    U.S. President Donald Trump smiles during a joint press conference with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea

    We needn’t fear Kim Jong-un’s posturing or dishonesty—we should trust U.S. power and strength to successfully deter North Korea, just like we deter Russia and China.

    It’s been nearly a year since Donald Trump became president of the United States—and in that time, he’s managed to dangerously escalate tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, demonstrating a readiness for military action that is alarming to many. Last April, the president warned that “major, major conflict” with North Korea could be possible—and earlier this month, he sent out a tweet regarding the nuclear capabilities of the United States, and his readiness to use them.

    In contrast, South Korean president Moon Jae-in has pursued a very different strategy in his dealings with his country’s neighbor. During his New Year’s speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un used surprisingly conciliatory language regarding South Korea, noting that he wanted to talk “as soon as possible” with the neighboring nation. He also expressed hope that North Korean athletes might participate in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games. South Korea’s political leaders immediately responded with positive affirmation: last week, the two countries re-established contact using a hotline that had been dormant for nearly two years, engaging in talks for twenty minutes.

    This week, the two countries met at the border village of Pammunjom, and North Korea agreed to send a delegation to Pyeongchang. It will be the first time in eight years the North Koreans have participated in the Olympics.

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