New sanctions with North Korea have been put in place, and longstanding conflict between the United States and North Korea continues to escalate. UVU National Security Program Director Ryan Vogel joined GMU to talk about the situation. North Korea has said that it is “examining the operational plan” to strike U.S. military facilities around Guam with strategic ballistic missiles, singling out “Andersen Air Force Base in which the US strategic bombers, which get on the nerves of the DPRK and threaten and blackmail it through their frequent visits to the sky above south Korea, are stationed and to send a serious warning signal to the US.”
“This threat comes on the heels of President Trump’s statement that more North Korean aggression would be met with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen.’ Trump was reacting to news that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead,” explained Ryan.
Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have cautioned the Administration from making threats it can’t or won’t follow through on. North Korea has steadily and surprsingly improved its nuclear weapons and delivery capability, successfully testing two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. Kim Jong Un claims that the last test proved that the mainland United States was now reachable. U.S. officials dispute that claim, but admit that North Korea is not far off from developing this reach.
Tillerson and other cabinet officials have surely been considering the effect of this escalation on other countries in the region and beyond. China, Russia, Korea, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, NATO, and others are watching to see how the Administration handles this crisis.