President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that dialogue is not the answer to the North Korean nuclear threat.
Having declared the end of the Obama-era policy of “strategic patience,” the Trump administration has been pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure and engagement,” which involves strong economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.
Trump, however, suggested Wednesday that there is no point in talking to North Korea.
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Early last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that North Korea has been showing restraint by not firing off missiles, potentially creating a path to dialogue. The North launched three short-range ballistic missiles Saturday, and then fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean Tuesday.
It is unclear what Trump intends to do, but he has made it clear that “all options are on the table,” including the military option. Secretary of Defense James Mattis previously said that war in Korea would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale,” describing the conflict as “catastrophic.” He and other administration officials have repeatedly advocated for a diplomatic solution to the North Korea problem, but it appears the president’s patience has worn thin, as he is now signaling that diplomacy may no longer be an option.
“We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said in response to questions from reporters.
The U.S. has attempted to negotiate with North Korea in the past. Former President Bill Clinton offered to provide North Korea with billions of dollars in aid if it dismantled its nuclear program. North Korea negotiated with the U.S. in bad faith, offering false promises to convince the U.S. to unwittingly subsidize their secret nuclear weapons program. (RELATED: FLASHBACK 1994: Clinton Says His Deal With North Korea Will Make The World Safer). Clinton, who was initially considering preemptive strikes, settled for a diplomatic solution after receiving a sobering estimation of the potential cost of conflict.
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