As tensions continue to simmer between the U.S. and North Korea, we are seeing mixed messages coming from Europe over support for the Trump administration’s policy towards the hermit nation. Fears over the potential outbreak of World War 3 have reached an all-time high, with Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un trading insults and threats. In some ways, President Trump speaks for the world community. There are real fears that North Korea has become a nuclear threat, something the wider world sees as unacceptable.
The problem seems to be that no one has a coherent strategy to deal with the threat that would be posed by a North Korea with nuclear weapons. Even within Trump’s administration, there are conflicts over how to deal with North Korea. As reported by Fox News, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday said that diplomacy will continue with North Korea, “until the first bomb drops.”
Tillerson’s comments seem out of keeping with President Trump’s stance. Trump has repeatedly said that diplomacy with North Korea is “a waste of time,” and that there is only one way to deal with that threat. That seems to indicate that Trump is seriously considering military action against Kim Jong-un’s regime.
If elements within the Trump administration are at odds, the messages coming out of Europe are also confusing. As reported by the Daily Express, European Union leaders have this weekend made clear that they believe that diplomacy and economic pressure is the only way to deal with North Korea and avoid World War 3. Britain’s Foreign Secretary said that North Korea’s nuclear program should be halted by diplomacy.
“The North Korean regime must bear full responsibility for the measures that the international community is enacting against it, including these sanctions.
“Maximising diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea is the most effective way to pressure Pyongyang to halt its illegal and aggressive actions.”
Of course, no sane person, including Donald Trump, wants to see a nuclear World War 3, and it seems that NATO is keen to encourage Trump to find a diplomatic solution. In an interview with Bloomberg, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea is essential. Stoltenberg also warned that a military intervention in North Korea would be catastrophic.
“Military actions will have devastating effects for many, many people and therefore we have to try to avoid that.
“We need to understand that we can’t do nothing, we can’t just sit there and just watch North Korea develop these weapons.
“We need to find the middle ground between doing nothing and using military means; and that’s political, diplomatic efforts supported by strong economic sanctions.”
Among those most closely threatened by North Korea is the U.S. territory of Guam. As reported by the New York Times, North Korea has renewed its threat to test intercontinental missiles near to Guam. Kim Jong-un has also threatened to test a nuclear missile by exploding it over the Pacific. Of course, North Korea has carried out numerous missile tests, and they recently successfully tested a hydrogen bomb warhead. Exploding a nuclear warhead over the Pacific would likely be a step too far for the international community.
Such an action by North Korea would certainly bring the world to the brink of World War 3.
[Featured Image by Ng Han Guan/AP Images]