U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would feel “very disappointed” by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if it turns out to be true that the Dongchang-ri long-range missile launch site has been restored. However, the U.S. president also said that it would not happen and he will wait and see, adding that he is on good terms with his North Korean counterpart.
Even with some warnings of a possible rupture in the U.S.-North relations, Trump has stayed careful. Meanwhile, North Korea has recently made moves actively and sophisticatedly. The latest satellite photos show that North Korea has already completed the building of a vertical engine testing pad and a launch pad, according to a U.S. military expert on North Korean issues who published a report on the status of the Dongchang-ri long-range missile launch site. Furthermore, foreign media outlets have reported that facility expansion works are underway around the Dongchang-ri site and the National Aerospace Development Administration in charge of the North’s Satellite Control Synthesis Command Center.
All media eyes are currently focusing on such “ominous signs.” It has been the norm that Pyongyang, if being cornered, increases likelihoods of provocations and accordingly escalates tensions to create a mood where it can suggest extra conditions for negotiation. The recent development may be based on its intent of breaking its promise to end missile testing while disguising the move as a peace-purpose satellite launch. It is a rare occasion for Pyongyang to withdraw from an agreement if it finds it unfavorable. For example, it launched a long-range rocket just 15 days after it signed the agreement reached on Feb. 29, 2012.
North Korea’s behavior only turns the dialogue front into the state of tension and crisis. The U.S.-North dialogue has been carried out on condition of the end to the North’s nuclear and missile tests and the U.S.-South joint military drills. Even with the rupture in the Hanoi summit, Washington plans to continue to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang with each part’s words kept. However, in case of North Korea’s provocations, the dialogue front cannot continue. President Trump would feel more than disappointed. It is a matter of time for Trump’s disappointment to turn into fury and anger.