North Korea

Tillerson: U.S. Has 'No Further Comment' on North Korea Missile Tests. Good.

Often the best move is to not play.

|

State Dept.

As the North Koreans continue to lob missiles into nearby seas and White House staff issues tough-talking but anonymous threats, we might to do well to take the advice of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile," Tillerson said in a terse statement. "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

This is probably the best way to deal with the latest temper tantrum from a country that has menaced the region and exploited regional tensions with missiles for a quarter century. Ignore it.

The North Korean regime feeds on attention and tries to use its missiles and nuclear brinksmanship as a bargaining chip to ensure their survival and feed their people, starving thanks to their totalitarian ways.

Often, North Korea's missile tests appear scheduled around events in foreign countries—South Koreans go to the polls May 9 to replace the impeached Park Geun-hye. The frontrunner Moon Jae-in has promised more engagement with North Korea.

He's also said he'd review the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system that began this year after being agreed to several years ago. That deployment has irked China, which nevertheless is careful to keep that issue separate from negotiations over North Korea, despite the two being obviously intertwined. President Trump and China President Xi Jinping are also set to meet in Mar-a-Lago later this month.

An anonymous senior U.S. official said the "clock has now run out" on North Korea's nuclear program "and all options are on the table." The best option for the U.S., however, is to do nothing. Ultimately, it's in the best interests of the countries in the region—particularly South Korea, Japan, and China—to work together to guarantee regional security.

Active U.S. involvement disincentivizes such cooperation and encourages polarization instead. China feels threatened by missile defense deployments because it believes those missiles are pointed at them. North Korea has repeatedly told South Korea, Japan and the U.S., its missiles have been and will be pointed at them. North Korea is a client state of China's, although often an uncooperative one thanks in part to its ability to exploit regional tensions.

The problem for years has been the lack of a coherent U.S. policy regarding China. George W. Bush left office a popular figure in China, credited with promoting free trade policies and spurning anti-Beijing rhetoric.

Since then, President Obama announced an "Asia pivot" a post-Iraq and Afghanistan wars policy sending more money, military assets, and other aid to U.S. allies surrounding China. The "pivot" rattled China and drove a more aggressive foreign policy. As late as 2015 the Obama administration was still confused as to why China had become more aggressive.

During his campaign Trump made China a top enemy. In advance of his his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Foreign Policy warned the Trump administration "has no idea what it's doing on China."

President Trump has an opportunity to reshape the U.S. role in Asia, to stop being the region's policeman, something Trump the candidate often promised. The administration could benefit from more no comments and fewer ultimatums.

NEXT: Massachusetts Doctors Want a Safe Place for People to Use Illegal Drugs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. No comment. Sure, until about 5 minutes after Dear Leader starts talking shit about Trump and then you’ll see some comments. What’s Trump got for a derisive nickname for Jong-Un, anyway? A fat boy with a loud mouth, a bad haircut and a messiah complex who has zero command of the English language – hmmmm….. don’t see a lot Trump could work with there.

    1. Lil’ Kim.

      1. Fat Boy Kim.

    2. Kim sure loves his rockets, doesn’t he? But doesn’t he also still love American movies, especially classic musicals like (it’s been said) Bye Bye Birdie?

      What’s the story, Morning Glory
      Have you heard about rockets and Kim?

  2. I was watching something about North Korea last night or the night before and I just don’t understand how there hasn’t been at least a coup or something yet. I guess I just don’t get how the fear-based power structure persists there.

    1. “I guess I just don’t get how the fear-based power structure persists there.”

      Like this:
      O Sang-Ho was the deputy security minister in the Ministry of Public Security in the government of North Korea who was reportedly killed in a political purge in 2014. According to sources quoted by the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, O was executed by flamethrower for his role in supporting Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-taek.
      WikiP

      1. Yes, but no one wants to be next, so they all look at each other and think let’s stop this before it’s you or worse, me.

    2. I guess I just don’t get how the fear-based power structure persists there.

      Like this:
      O Sang-Ho was the deputy security minister in the Ministry of Public Security in the government of North Korea who was reportedly killed in a political purge in 2014. According to sources quoted by the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, O was executed by flamethrower for his role in supporting Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-taek.[4][5]

      1. I believe he used an anti-aircraft gun recently too, at almost point blank range

    3. They’ve supposedly come close to the military taking over, but a revolt from the common people just doesn’t seem likely. It’s as close to Orwell’s 1984 as any country has been. The government is in their heads to a degree that’s difficult to truly comprehend

      1. That’s the thing. It’s not. At least it’s not according to the thing I was watching (on PBS I think). North Koreans know what’s up. They just feel powerless about it.

        1. I suspect it’s as simple as being too hungry to revolt.

        2. I suspect it’s as simple as being too hungry to revolt.

        3. I seem to remember hearing that even a defector from NK described how there was genuine mourning everywhere at the death of the previous Dear Leader. And that he even felt some of it himself, in spite of what he knew. It sounds really weird, but there it is.

    4. Coups really only happen when the government is not particularly ruthless towards dissenters.

      A lot of regimes will tolerate a certain amount of dissent because they care about PR. Countries that don’t, like NK, can be as ruthless as they want.

    5. “and I just don’t understand how there hasn’t been at least a coup or something yet.”

      It seems their economy is growing thanks in large part to a widespread private sector tolerated by the government. And contrary to what the author says, North Korea is not starving. Not since their famine of the late 90s. They have cash cards and mobile phones these days, despite nonstop UN sanctions.

  3. This is probably the best way to deal with the latest temper tantrum from a country that has menaced the region and exploited regional tensions with missiles for a quarter century.

    You know who else had a temper-tantrum with missiles?

    1. Dave Theurer?

    2. The stink-breathed shit-flinging retard who got your mom pregnant with you?

      1. Why are Trump supporters so bitter?

      2. WTF is wrong with you?

      3. Oh never mind. It’s just another shit-stirring Trump-fellating Republican pretending to be a libertarian here at Reason.

    3. Sterling Hayden?

  4. Somebody really needs to put it to China that, yes, North Korea is their pet monkey but he’s rabid, and has got his hands on a stick of dynamite and a butane lighter and it’s in their interests to terminate the little sonofabitch.

  5. I am interested to play the scrabble word cheat game and this game will played by the different stages that you can know all the words very easily.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.