U.S Bomber Drills Unsettles North Korea Ahead Trump’s Visit to Asia
United States (U.S) President, Donald Trump is billed to make his first presidential trip to Asia on Sunday. Ahead of that visit, two US bomber jets have conducted drills over South Korea, a move that has unsettled the North Korea.
The goal of Trump’s visit to Asia will be to increase international support for efforts to deprive North Korea of resources as leverage to coerce it to give up nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said.
“The president recognizes that we’re running out of time (to deal with North Korea) and will ask all nations to do more,” White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters at a briefing in Washington.
News of the drills was first reported by North Korean state news agency KCNA on Friday, which said the exercises involving South Korean and Japanese fighter jets were a “surprise nuclear strike drill”.
“The reality clearly shows that the gangster-like U.S. imperialists are the very one who is aggravating the situation of the Korean peninsula and seeking to ignite a nuclear war,” KCNA said.
Reuters said Trump arrives in Asia on Sunday, “beginning his first trip to the region as president in Japan before heading to South Korea and China, then Vietnam and the Philippines”
President Trump has seen a series of missile tests by North Korea and its sixth and largest nuclear test as threats and fueling the most critical international challenge of his presidency.
McMaster said Trump, who has approved a variety of sanctions against North Korea while pressing China to do more, is at the beginning of his drive for Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons. Trump has warned he would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States.
“I think we have to be a little patient here for at least a few months to see what more we and others can do, including China,” said McMaster. “I don’t think we need to reassess our strategy now. I think we have to give it a couple of months, a few months, and then see what adjustments we might need to make.”
China’s influential state-run tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Friday that pressing China will not help solve the Korean peninsula nuclear crisis.
“The complexity of the nuclear crisis means that all sides may have to make some concessions to reach a peaceful solution. China is playing the most difficult role in the process, and is the real hope of peacefully addressing the crisis. Neither side should press China in an extreme way,” it said.
Seoul held a National Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss possible unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang, and may announce the measures ahead of Trump’s arrival in South Korea, a presidential official said.
“The United States has wanted the South Korean government to take further steps to sanction the North. Unilateral sanctions by South Korea wouldn’t have much practical impact but it has a symbolic importance,” the official said.