Trump Rattles Saber at North Korea: ‘Only One Thing Will Work’

Updated on
  • President follows up cryptic ‘calm before the storm’ comment
  • Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts earlier termed a waste of time

Bremmer: Trump's N. Korea Strategy Could Backfire

President Donald Trump returned to saber-rattling against North Korea, saying that “only one thing will work!” after years of diplomacy have failed, even as his counterpart in Pyongyang termed nuclear weapons a powerful deterrent.

“Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators,” Trump said in a pair of tweets.

“Sorry, but only one thing will work!” the president concluded to his 40 million Twitter followers in a message that at least implied he may have settled on a military option against North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un.

On Saturday, leaving the White House to travel to North Carolina for a fundraiser, Trump was asked by reporters to clarify his comment. “Well, you’ll figure that out pretty soon,” he said.

The remarks came two days after Trump cryptically said during a dinner with American military leaders that observers were witnessing “the calm before the storm.” He refused to clarify the comment, adding only that “you’ll find out.” On Saturday, Trump said there was “nothing to clarify.”

North Korea’s Kim has heightened global tensions this year with a series of increasingly provocative missile launches and an underground nuclear test. The country’s foreign minister even floated the idea of exploding a warhead over the Pacific Ocean.

Public Sniping

Two Russian lawmakers said this week that Kim is now planning to test a missile capable of reaching the U.S. west coast, a range of approximately 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers).

Kim and Trump have traded public barbs, leading the North Korean to contend that the U.S. has declared war on his nation. While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has sought a diplomatic solution, Trump said in a tweet on Oct. 1 that the top U.S. diplomat was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate.

Kim spoke at length on the “complicated international situation” during a North Korean central committee meeting on Saturday, according to an official release. He contended that United Nations economic sanctions had been “cooked up” by the U.S. as part of “last-ditch efforts to completely stifle” North Korea’s right to existence and development.

Nuclear weapons are a “powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula,” Kim said, according to the release.

— With assistance by Tamara Thueringer

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE