No one can argue that the recent actions of the North Korean regime have threatened regional peace. From the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, to the launching of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, Kim Jong-un seems to be moving ever closer to a simmering powder keg with a lit match in hand.
The recent assassination marks a troubling split between Beijing and Pyongyang, but this isn’t Kim Jong-un’s first alienating gesture. In 2013, he publicly and infamously executed his uncle, Jang Song-thaek. Jang was a close contact of Kim Jong-nam, and Beijing’s man inside North Korea. His execution signaled a potential breakdown in relations between North Korea and China that may soon be coming to a head.
In practice, China is North Korea’s sole ally, but concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program have driven a wedge between the two nations. China’s unique relationship with North Korea has buoyed the rogue regime for years, but it could also be the thing that ultimately spells the end of the Kim regime’s dangerous policies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump’s internal review of the North Korean situation includes the possible use of military force to halt the regime’s weapons program. Despite the dismay felt by Beijing officials in response Kim Jong-un’s provocative actions, potential U.S. strikes against the regime are the last thing on their wish list due in part to the geographic proximity of North Korea’s nuclear facilities and the Chinese border.
President Trump’s response
President Trump appears to be taking a hard line against North Korea, both publicly and privately. On his Twitter account, Mr. Trump publicly vowed that he will not allow the regime to develop nuclear weapons capable of reaching portions of the United States.
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
The last eight years have been a time of unmitigated chaos across the globe. In an era marked by American ineffectiveness, President Obama projected a weakness that allowed America’s enemies, including North Korea, to run amok. President Trump’s unwillingness to remove military force as an option, even if it doesn’t happen, might be just the thing to restore stability to the region. After all, history has proven that there is no substitute for an American foreign policy based on the simple concept of peace through strength.