President Donald Trump says the time for talking to North Korea is over, after its leader Kim Jong Un warned that Tuesday’s missile launch was just the beginning of more military operations that will target the U.S. territory of Guam.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump said: “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer.”
Trump’s tweet comes as the international community is still struggling to respond to the continued threat from Pyongyang, after its latest test saw a missile fly over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, triggering warning sirens and alert messages. The hermit kingdom has conducted dozens of missile tests over the years but recently ramped up the pace and appears to have advanced its nuclear capabilities, threatening to strike Guam.
Following a hastily convened meeting of the U.N. Security Council, all 15 members approved a U.S.-drafted statement that called the test “outrageous,” adding that North Korea is “deliberately undermining regional peace and stability.” But the statement appears to have fallen on deaf ears in Pyongyang.
In a statement released by the state-run news agency KCNA, North Korean leader Kim said Tuesday’s launch was “the first step of the military operation in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” describing the U.S. territory as an “advanced base of invasion.”
Kim added that North Korea plans on “conducting more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future” — which would mean more tests that fly over Japan.
Video footage of the launch was released Wednesday showing Kim watching the launch of the Hwasong-12 missile, an intermediate-range ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead.
On Tuesday, Trump said “all options are on the table,” but Wednesday’s tweet suggests that direct negotiations were no longer an option. Experts are increasingly warning that there are no good solutions to this crisis.
The U.S. president asking China to take a harsher stance on North Korea, but Beijing appears more concerned about the ongoing deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea, saying it undermines “the strategic security interest of all regional countries.”