The United States now Ushers a Conciliatory Tone towards North Korea: Regional Pressure?

The United States now Ushers a Conciliatory Tone towards North Korea: Regional Pressure?

Shuchun Zhang and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

It appears that the administration of President Donald Trump is rethinking its policy towards North Korea. Of course, the situation still remains volatile based on recent comments in the corridors of power in Washington and Pyongyang respectively. However, some recent conciliatory comments by officials within the Trump administration indicate a softening approach.

The Vice-President of the United States, Mike Pence, on his trips to South Korea and Japan respectively, stressed the “era of strategic patience” is over with the nation of North Korea.

Yet, within a few days of a strong approach towards North Korea, it now seems that a conciliatory approach is in the offing. Rex Tillerson, the United States Secretary of State, said, “We’re reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held.”

On a similar note, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said, “We’re not trying to pick a fight so don’t try and give us one.”

It could well be that behind all the smiles of unity between America and South Korea – then followed by America and Japan – that both nations seek tensions to be reduced. This is based on the fear that citizens of both countries will suffer from any major conflict involving America and North Korea. Therefore, America is gradually listening to regional voices in Northeast Asia, where pressure is put on North Korea but based on usual steps, rather than upping the ante to the point of no return.

Of course, it must equally be stated that the current Trump administration is extremely baffling when it comes to international relations. On the one hand, it seemed that doors would open between America and the Russian Federation. Likewise, positive comments were made towards the crisis in Syria. Yet, this was followed by the contrary and now tensions are increasing once more between America and the Russian Federation despite Moscow seeking the clock to be reset with Washington. In this sense, the mixed signals now aimed at North Korea say much about the current Trump administration in the area of geopolitics – it is one of contradictory statements time after time.

China and the Russian Federation equally need to be consulted so that all sides – and honest brokers – can try to calm the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Hopefully, recent comments by Tillerson and Haley will be reciprocated by political posturing in North Korea. After all, only a limited conflict could unleash tragic consequences for countless numbers of civilians throughout the region. Also, North Korea’s continuity would be put in jeopardy. Therefore, military and political elites in Pyongyang must equally reduce the rhetoric and step back from the brink of chaos and destruction.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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