The possibility of a nuclear holocaust has been on everyone’s mind as Trump and Kim Jong-un exchanged threats and hostilities in recent weeks. However, both sides–while maintaining their aggressive posturing–are now indicating that they may back down if certain conditions are met.
Jong-un recently claimed that missile strikes were not off the table as long as “Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity,” but he did caution America to “think reasonably and judge properly” moving forward. While these sentiments may not seem particularly warm, analysts explain that it is about the best anyone could expect from the communist despot.
“They’re still threatening attacks on Guam but taking a rather de-escalatory tone,” said Yun Sun, a foreign policy expert at the Stimson Institute, in a Business Insider report.
Only time will tell if that shift in rhetoric will be enough to stop Trump’s rampage against North Korea. Last week, he promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea made any more threats before doubling down by saying “maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
“If he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast,” Trump said in a Tweet last week referencing Jong-un.
Nevertheless, Trump administration officials are making it known that diplomatic options are off the table–with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson serving as the voice of reason as tensions have worsened.
“We continue to be interested in trying to find a way to get to dialogue, but that’s up to him,” Tillerson said today.
Other moves happening throughout Asia indicate that the situation is beginning to simmer. South Korea is relieved that diplomatic avenues are looking more tenable as China moves forward with placing economic sanctions on North Korea as well.
“Our government will put everything on the line to prevent another war on the Korean Peninsula,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said. “Regardless of whatever twist and turns we could experience, the North Korean nuclear program should absolutely be solved peacefully, and the [South Korean] government and the U.S. government don’t have a different position on this.”