WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump appears to have settled on a military solution to North Korea’s push to develop nuclear weapons, given his tweets over the weekend suggesting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time” negotiating with Pyongyang.
The USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier task force is headed toward Hong Kong, the first American carrier in two years that Beijing has given permission for a U.S. carrier permission for a Hong Kong port call.
The South China Morning Post reported on Sunday that the USS Ronald Reagan is expected to take part with the South Korean navy around October 15, in the Yellow Sea.
The possibility that the USS Ronald Reagan could cross the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea established after the Korean War, has raised tensions with North Korea.
With the USS Ronald Reagan on station in the Yellow Sea off North Korea, the Trump administration may have the last military asset moved in place prior to a military strike on North Korea’s nuclear facilities.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.”
In a second tweet later on Sunday, Trump added: “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”
Following the United Nations efforts to increase sanctions against North Korea, the Trump administration appears to have rejected China and Russia’s proposed temporary “freeze” on North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for the United States reducing military exercises, a bargain the Trump administration doubted Pyongyang would respect.
Most military analysts anticipate a U.S. military attack on North Korea would involve a massive air attack that would include cruise missiles, aimed at taking out North Korea’s nuclear facilities, with Defense Intelligence Agency analysts estimating North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside an ICBM, estimating that North Korea may already possess as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
Based on the artillery North Korea has trained on Seoul, the capital of South Korea lying some 35 miles from North Korean territory, American and South Korean military commanders believe as many as 100,000 people in South Korea could be killed by a North Korean military counterattack in the first hours of a U.S.-led military strike on North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure.