U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday (local time), “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” adding that Kim “does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November.”
This was the warning against firing missiles to influence the U.S. presidential election. However, it also sounds like President Trump’s plea to not ruin his reelection. It shows all he cares about is the election at a time when he has to commit himself to resolving North Korean nuclear issues regardless of the election results. No wonder some people suggest that the U.S. president is taking advantage of the North Korean issues for the election.
This is exactly why Pyongyang is ratcheting up tensions as it heads towards the self-imposed year-end deadline. Its goal is to win as many concessions as possible from Trump, playing its nuclear card whether it be to ease or heighten tensions. Kim probably wants Trump to win the upcoming election as he is much easier for North Korea than a Democratic candidate. However, the North Korean leader seems wiling to go as far as to risk losing Trump to make the most out of the pre-election period.
It appears that North Korea’s target for its next ICBM launch will be the United States. The satellite imagery shows the “very important test” that was conducted on Sunday in Tongchang-ri, was on fuel injection for the long-range missile engine. Resuming the operation of the launch site that Pyongyang promised Seoul and Washington to dismantle signals that the regime is ready to put its words into action.
However, the South Korean government still has not issued any statement let alone holding the National Security Council (NSC). South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Irish rock band U2’s lead vocalist Bono on Monday and discussed peace on the Korean Peninsula, while not commenting on any recent developments. Trump did not mention South Korea when he said “NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!" although it is unclear if it was intentional or accidental. However, what also remains unclear is whether both Moon and Trump have let the crisis grow, fixated on election and peace.