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Trump Won't Tone Down North Korea Provocations on Asia Trip

  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 28, 2017.

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 28, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 November 2017

The U.S. is also planning to designate North Korea as a ‘state sponsor of terror’ to supplement sanctions that are already in place.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, top national security adviser to United States President Donald Trump, said that Trump has no plans of toning down his hawkish remarks regarding North Korea on his 12-day Asia trip.

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During the 12-day trip, Trump will travel to 5 countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where he will be expected to discuss collective security in the region.

Topping the list of security threats, in Trump’s eyes, is the threat of North Korea.

"The President will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously," McMaster told reporters. "I don't think the President really modulates his language. I mean, have you noticed him do that? He has been very clear about that."

Trump has threatened "fire and fury" against North Korea in the past, claiming that the small Asian country is a threat to U.S. national security.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump once tweeted.

“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump later commented during a FOX News interview. “Would it be nice not to do that (military intervention)? The answer is yes.”

The Trump administration has placed nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War, which observers have called a serious escalation.

McMaster echoed Trump’s remarks to reporters, claiming that North Korea’s actions have been escalations.

According to McMaster, the Trump administration is also considering adding North Korea back to the U.S. Department of State’s ‘state sponsor of terror’ list. The country, which initially had this designation, lost it in 2008 under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

"That is an option that is under consideration," he said. "And so, the President's Cabinet is looking at this as part of the overall strategy on North Korea."

Support for the redesignation in the U.S. Congress is high as a bipartisan coalition has advocated for these measures which they believe will supplement already existing sanctions, rendering them more effective.

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No evidence was cited that suggests North Korea is a sponsor of terrorism.

“The U.S. is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They’re pressuring us on all fronts with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you’re deeply mistaken,” said  North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in response to U.S. provocations.

Trump is expected to take further actions against North Korea upon his return to the U.S. at the conclusion of his Asia trip.


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