The Japanese Prime Minister met with President Trump last month in Florida. What was reported as a “get to know” meeting had much more substantive meaning for the two countries. It included a strategic review on North Korean options the Japan and the U.S. must now face.
Options discussed ranged from military force to regime change. It is Trump’s belief that the window is closing on any peaceful conclusion to North Korea‘s increasing nuclear threat. Their ally, the Chinese, have chosen to do little if anything to stop the proliferation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A strain in relations with the North Koreans is now considered to be at a crisis stage. Regional instability has been heightening over the last few months since the launch of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.
The military option has become the primary strategy in recent discussions with allies, suggesting that the planning is at an advanced stage. The allies fear that Kim’s mental instability has reached a point of disastrous consequences and is all too familiar with their all-powerful Chinese neighbor.
Action on North Korean Nuclear Aggression
The ultimate cornerstone of any action is what will China do, if anything? President Trump has already taken vital steps to reassure allies that he won’t abandon decades-old agreements of U.S. policy on Asia. He has made it abundantly clear to the North Koreans that Pyongyang would be stopped from ever testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.
His comments have left Asian leaders bracing for a shift in American policy. During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s two-day summit in February with Mr. Trump, U.S. officials, including top military brass, stated that all options were under consideration to deal with North Korea, according to the WSJ.
Military experts in Washington expect either North Korea or ISIS to be Trump’s first intervention on the foreign stage. He made it clear over and over again during the presidential campaign that he considered both entities to be extreme threats to U.S. national security.
It was clear to the Japanese that those options encompassed a U.S. first strike at the missile launching sites deep inside North Korea. Unlike his predecessor’s neutral position concerning North Korean nuclear threats, it appears Trump is setting the stage to eradicate Pyongyang’s ongoing saber rattling by force or immediate regime change.