LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
By Ryan Pickrell
A crisis on the Korean peninsula appears imminent as North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.
China fears that a “conflict could break out at any moment,” and North Korea is warning it “will go to war” if the U.S. decides it wants a fight, the AP reports.
The “Day of the Sun” — the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung — is Saturday, and evidence suggests that North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test, a risky provocation in the current climate.
President Donald Trump has demonstrated what happens when governments and actors “cross the line.” The administration launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase earlier in April after the Syrian regime carried out a brutal chemical weapons attack on civilians. The U.S. military then dropped a weapon nicknamed the “mother of all bombs” on the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Now, a U.S. Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson is moving into waters near the Korean peninsula.
North Korea says it is “not frightened.” Pyongyang is threatening to take “the toughest counteraction against the U.S.” and its allies, adding that U.S. bases in the region are “in the sights of our rockets. The North Korean military says the “drunken provocation of the Trump Administration has become a dangerous step that can not be tolerated.”
Beijing is calling for calm, warning, “If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner.” At the same time, China has reportedly put its troops on high alert in expectation of a conflict.
“With swords drawn and bows bent, … there have been storm clouds gathering,” China’s Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that if North Korea and the U.S. and its allies “let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder the historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this.”
The North Korean nuclear threat has been growing since the reclusive regime first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. Since then, North Korea has gone on to test a total of five nuclear bombs, each with a greater explosive yield than the last. Furthermore, the North continues to develop and test ballistic missiles with greater ranges, and the country working on a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile able to deliver a nuclear weapon to targets in the continental U.S.
The threat from Pyongyang has puzzled U.S. presidents for decades, as no president has yet figured out how to effectively rein in North Korea and bring stability to the peninsula. It is unclear whether or not things will change with the new administration.