North Korea continues to reject American efforts at diplomacy. Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered more opportunities for the rogue regime to enter into diplomatic talks, but North Korea has now said it has no desire to negotiate with the United States until it has a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the continental U.S.
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The country’s push to perfect nuclear weapons is at the very heart of potential negotiations, and the root of the escalating war of words. A spokesman told CNN Monday that the nation is developing missiles that can strike “all the way to the East coast of the mainland US.”
And until it has this powerful bargaining chip, the country isn’t going to talk. “Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States,” the official told CNN.
President Trump’s take on the matter has been far more bellicose. He’s been dismissive of negotiations and diplomacy.
Those advising the President seem concerned, too. “White House chief of staff John Kelly said last week that Americans should be concerned about North Korea’s ability to reach the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” CNN writes, “cryptically telling reporters that if the threat grows ‘beyond where it is today, well, let’s hope that diplomacy works.’”
As of now, officials believe that the North Koreans are working on a re-entry vehicle that would allow a nuclear warhead to fall back to earth after a launch that took the weapon out of earth’s atmosphere. That seems to be the sticking point for the country’s missile development. Experts believe they are close to building a warhead small enough to be carried by an ICBM.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations last month that Kim Jong Un was planning “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb” test over the Pacific. Such a move would be a clear threat to countries in the Pacific rim.
Yet, for all of the threats and insinuations from both sides, the conflict still remains a war of words, mostly. South Koreans have found themselves bombarded with propaganda leaflets from North Korea. Experts believe that they are being flown in on balloons and dropped over cities.
Meanwhile, US-South Korea naval drills began Monday. The joint exercises will last 10 days. And the United States continues to offer the opportunity for North Korea to meet in diplomatic talks. “Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” Secretary Tillerson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”