No less than four US administrations have been negotiating with North Korea for the better part of 25 years.
Yet tensions have never been higher.
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has been launching missiles over South Korea and Japan with seeming abandon. And the rogue nation’s nuclear program continues…despite years of UN sanctions.
Now, Jong-un claims that he has a nuclear missile that can reach the US. This is not good news for Darwin either. The Northern Territory’s capital finds itself in striking distance of North Korea’s erratic leader.
And, according to US President Donald Trump, the time for talking is over.
Jong-un and Trump, have been trading insults and Trump has had enough! The time for diplomacy is over and now Trump has the task of ‘dealing’ with the North Korean dictator, something his predecessors never did.
Trump reiterated this in a tweet:
‘Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid.
‘[It] hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!’
Trump is signalling that it is time for the US and its allies, including Australia, to take action. No strategy in negotiating with Jong-un has worked thus far. And his arsenal will only become more lethal with time.
Trump, appearing on Mike Huckabee’s show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, stated that the issues facing the democratic world today:
‘[S]hould have been handled 25 years ago, it should have been handled 10 years ago, it should haven (sic) been handled during the Obama administration’.
What was the response from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when questioned on the tweet and comments made by Trump? It was quite simple really:
‘The best way of ensuring that this reckless, dangerous, criminal regime comes to its senses, without military conflict, is to continue to impose strong economic sanctions on North Korea’.
Julie Bishop, Australia’s Foreign Minister, also weighed in, stating:
‘South Korea and Japan will feel they are vulnerable and feel the need to increase their deterrence capability.
‘So we believe that the collective strategy of bringing maximum political and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea must be undertaken by all nations to ensure North Korea changes course’.
It may sound simple, however, it’s not.
The rational leaders of the western world are dealing with a man that believes the only way to stay in power as the North Korean leader, is to make sure people fear him. Jong-un does this by flexing his nuclear muscles.
We can only hope that political and diplomatic pressure brings about Jong-un’s eventual capitulation. But if history is anything to go by, we have our doubts.