THE KOREAN ISSUE: END OF TRUMP’S ISOLATIONIST POLICIES




İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO- 18.04.2017 North Korea continues to make leaders busy. Last Saturday (15th of April) celebrated the 105th birthday of Kim II Sung, grandfather of Kim Jong-un and the founder of the country. At the early hours of Sunday, Pyongyang conducted a failed missile test. (It seems the number of failed tests committed by the authoritarian regime is increasing).

After the test, US National Security Adviser HR McMaster claimed that “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with the threat of North Korea. He added that the latest test "fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime". Also, US vice-president, Mike Pence, warned North Korea not to test Donald Trump’s resolve over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, adding that the US and its allies were running out of patience with the regime, during his Seoul visit.

Recently, American authorities made notable military actions in Syria and Afghanistan. First, Trump administration made a historic attack on Assad regime after the chemical attack in Idlib on 4 April. The USA launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from a warship in eastern Mediterranean to Syria’s Sharyat military base where regime allegedly used it for the chemical attack.

Secondly, USA used the most powerful non-nuclear missile in its military inventory, GBU-42 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, following Mc.Master’s visit to the country.  It has been asserted that the ‘’mother of all bombs’’ destroyed a network of tunnels used by Isis near Afghanistan-Pakistan border. After the attack, President Donald Trump said "Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!”

There is no doubt that each attack includes some significant messages for Kim Jong-un. Unlike his campaign, President Trump now desirous to talk, negotiate and intervene in the international crisis. His isolationist rhetoric and idea of ‘’ America first’’ seems to be diverted.  In that sense, he is even ready to have close relations with China. On Sunday, Trump acknowledged China’s help to the US on the North Korean issue and tweeted as. “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Also, McMaster approved that they are working with Chinese authorities on this subject.

Moreover, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the “situation on the Korean peninsula” by phone and promised to maintain a dialogue.

China banned imports of coal, North Korean coal, and its most important export. Additionally, China's customs department issued an order telling traders to return North Korean coal cargoes last week.

It is obvious that fault lines in Asia deepen. In addition to these former BritishConservative foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind told to BBC that action from the US may have already taken place without the need for a direct military confrontation. He argued thatthe US might conduct cyber-attack to make the test failed. Besides,   US foreign policy adviser traveling with Mr. Pence on Air Force said: “We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch”. He added “It's a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don't need to expend any resources against that’’.