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Trump ineffective with North Korea

For many, there are only two foreseeable ends to the situation with North Korea: war or diplomacy. In avoidance of a catastrophic conflict that would put millions of lives under threat, the Trump Administration must refocus its diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful end to the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

With North Korea getting closer and closer to attaining nuclear capability, the dispute between the United States and North Korea is the most dangerous it has been in decades. The Trump Administration’s approach in quelling this threat has consisted of strict sanctions, pressure on Mr. Kim’s primary allies, and taunts against the Pyongyang based government. These messages have had seemingly no effect on Kim Jong- Uun’s desire to develop nuclear weapons, and have only sowed confusion on the Trump Administration’s true intention.

Top officials within the Trump Administration have said repeatedly that reaching a diplomatic resolution in relieving tension with North Korea is America’s top priority. But the fiery rhetoric and insulting comments made towards North Korean leader Kim Jong- Uun by  U.S. President Donald Trump suggest otherwise.

On one hand, Trump team officials, such as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seek peace talks with North Korea through a direct channel of communication.

“We’ve made it clear that we hope to resolve this through talks,” Tillerson said while speaking at a press conference in Beijing.

Just a few days after these remarks, President Donald Trump, through a series of tweets, undermined his Secretary of State’s efforts.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” he tweeted.

Trump has thrown various insults and jabs at Kim, calling him a “mad- man”, (which is likely the only thing he has gotten right regarding Korea), “Little Rocket Man,”, and at a United Nations General Assembly, he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.

As seen under previous administrations, dealing with the unpredictable young North Korean leader takes smart diplomacy – which is not a strength of PresidentMr. Trump. The undiplomatic language of the sitting President is not a productive means of relieving tension, and only serves to undermine  serious foreign policy efforts made by advisors, such as Tillerson and Mattis.

The provocative language seen to come from the President of the United States is not only ineffective, but is also dangerous. The United States must consider the possibility that Kim Jong- Uun takes the words of the President seriously, which may lead him to the conclusion that the U.S. is not actually interested in peace at all. If leaders in Pyongyang do draw this conclusion, they may feel that they have no other option than to further accelerate the development of their nuclear program.

The President’s erroneous war-intended rhetoric is undercutting his team and their attempts to piece together a realistic and coherent strategy that engages the North Korean threat. The United States has been unable to deliver a unified message as to their intentions regarding North Korea – does Trump and his administration seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict or an escalation in tension?

There is no perfect policy solution when it comes to the North Korean problem. But the Trump Administration needs to stop the insults and get serious about fi nding a way to stabilize the situation.

Although it remains unclear if Kim Jong- Uun is interested in talking, the Trump Administration needs to test the possibility before miscalculation-by-tweet leads to war.

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