(NationalSentinel) North Korea: On the heels of a report claiming China may be moving some 150,000 troops to its Yalu River border with North Korea as a U.S. Navy carrier strike group takes up station off the Korean peninsula, President Donald J. Trump upped his own rhetoric via Twitter this morning:
Some analysts see this as a sign that last weekend’s meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping did nothing to improve relations, claiming that the president has been coopted by “neocons” who are relishing a new conflict.
Maybe. But as we’ve seen time and again, this is one way Trump “negotiates” – in public, using his social media account. And the neocon accusation assumes that Trump has been unduly influenced to take an action that perhaps he already wanted to take in the first place. We just don’t know at this point.
What we do know is that the U.S. Navy is near the Korean peninsula; Trump struck Syria as he was sitting down to dinner with Xi as a signal to the Chinese leader that the new president is decisive and will act in the United States’ best interests (this morning’s tweets reaffirm that); and that while China certainly does not want a U.S. ally on its border, it may be better off (as Trump is signaling) without the nuisance of a regime that will bring destabilization to the region if it continues to taunt the United States.
South Korea is downplaying any preemptive strike, as noted by The Wall Street Journal this morning:
South Korean officials sought to tamp down concerns over the possibility of a pre-emptive U.S. military strike on North Korea, as a U.S. aircraft carrier headed toward the Korean Peninsula and Pyongyang threatened to “react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.”
“Be careful not to be fooled by exaggerations about the security situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon Sang-gyun, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Defense, said at a regular briefing Tuesday.
But, Seoul would say this publicly, wouldn’t it, lest it tip off the NorK’s to what’s coming.
Maybe the underlying truth lies somewhere in the middle. As the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group makes its way back to the Korean peninsula, it does so ahead of April 15 birth anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung, the biggest holiday on the country’s calendar. And there is satellite imagery to suggest the North is preparing a new nuclear test.
And we have Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has said the Syria attack showed that “President Trump is willing to act when governments and actors cross the line,” in remarks widely regarded as being directed in part at Pyongyang.
Sometimes the sound of war drums is just noise, and sometimes it is a signal that war is actually coming.