North Korea’s government responded to Trump’s critical tweets regarding their government by claiming that Trump declared war on their country.
How they intend to respond to this perceived threat of war remains unclear although Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho claimed that, “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country.”
It is unclear what this means. Will North Korea attempt a preemptive strike? They have been developing a weapons program. They have fired 22 missiles during fifteen tests throughout 2017 and many of those missiles have been aimed at their traditional enemy and United State ally, Japan. If Japan is attacked, the United States would almost certainly respond with military force against North Korea.
In response to this increasing aggression, the United States has flown bombers close to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has been working on developing nuclear tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States and has threatened to shoot any US bomber near Korea, including those not directly near their borders.
Trump has threatened to destroy North Korea. The threat prompted Kim Jong-un to call him a “mentally deranged dotard.” Trump has returned insults with the communist leader, nicknaming him “Rocket Man” and ridiculing him. Jong-un has not taken kindly to these insults and has threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb over the Pacific in response. If he does so, the effects could be catastrophic.
Nuclear fallout from such an explosion could kill thousands and the health effects would linger for generations. Is Jong Un crazy enough to do it? What would the US response to such an act be? It can be speculated that this would alarm the international community and a military response from more belligerent nations in the Pacific would be assured.
China might even turn on North Korea and invade them. While Japan has not had an active military since 1945, such an act would no doubt enrage the more hawkish factions in Japanese politics, potentially leading to a Japanese invasion of North Korea. As of 2016, Japan has been increasing its military funding. The United States would no doubt aid Japan in such a conflict.
The United States has suggested they would use military force against North Korea. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has stated that ““What we hope to do is avoid war, but we cannot completely discount that possibility.”