The Ongoing US-North Korea Spat: Trump’s “Suicide Mission”

In another episode of what CNN dubs the “ongoing war of words between the United States and North Korea,” North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho verbally attacked the U.S. President Trump. In fact, Ri emphasized that Trump was on a “suicide mission,” stating that his attacks on North Korea’s dignity will only seal the fate of an impending nuclear war.  In addition, Ri went as far as labelling President Trump a “mentally deranged” individual who used “reckless and violent words.”  While there was no verbal response from the White House to Ri’s remarks, CNN reported that there were military maneuvers. The Pentagon said that B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea, the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone that US fighters or bomber aircraft have ever flown in this century. The flight demonstrated “the seriousness with which [they] take DPRK’s reckless behavior.”

The tic-for-tac military action on both sides aside, the ongoing verbal attacks between the US and North Korea have only worsened relations between both sides, escalating the already catastrophic diplomatic state. In a speech last Tuesday, President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. What are most damaging are President Trump’s infamous tweets. On 24th September, President Trump called Kim Jong Un “little rocket man” and threatened that “they won’t be around much longer.”  These derogatory remarks between the two nations reflect immaturity on both sides. Needless to say, the constant name-calling and accusations have only served to polarize the already heightened tensions between the two leaders. The international tensions between the two nations have also sparked a global equities sell-down. ABC news reported that major markets in the U.S., Europe, and Asia plummeted overnight. With President Trump boldly stating that any threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury,” it is understandable that investors are wary.

It is clear that the derogatory between the two is all but beneficial. So, why are both leaders still engaging in this verbal spat?

As the President of a global superpower with significant influence over global affairs, Trump needs to re-evaluate his diplomatic methods. In a Politico consult survey, it was found that 69% of voters think that Trump should tweet less, and even a majority of Republican voters, 53%, agrees. Instead of attacking parties on Twitter, President Trump should focus his efforts on finding a productive way of dealing with an aggressor like North Korea. In the latest instalment of President Trump’s “tweet wars,” he criticized NFL players in a series of tweets. As rightfully highlighted by the New York Times, Trump’s habitual fight-picking tendencies have now become a familiar sighting, but it continues to leave foreign leaders puzzled by Trump’s impulsive and inconsistent positions in diplomatic affairs. The result is numerous strains in diplomatic relations with other nations, including the already sour relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

“The niceties of international diplomacy have never had such a reality-show flavour to them in the modern era.” President Trump needs to re-evaluate his diplomatic strategy before he dealings with contentious issues like the North Korean Nuclear Threat creates what can only be disastrous effects on the global level should tensions between U.S. and North Korea continue to escalate.

Lew Ching Yip