In a surprise move, and a major change in US policy, US President, Donald Trump, said that under the right circumstances that he would meet North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. The last US official to have direct talks with North Korea, was Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in 2000 when she met with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il. But North Korea warned that it would carry-out a nuclear test at any time and any location.

On the week-end when asked if a North Korean nuclear test, believed primed and ready to go, would lead to the use of force, US President, Donald Trump, "I don't know. I mean, we'll see." Senator John McCain, Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, went further stressing that the US might have to consider a pre-emptive strike on the North. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the missile launch was unacceptable and that further negotiations with the Hermit Kingdom would be useless. Japan shut-down its metro subway system in Tokyo to protect riders on the system from a potential North Korean missile attack by keeping them underground until the danger had past. Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, joined China in asking the leaders of North Korea and the US to restrain themselves from the use of force. Pope Francis pressed for calm and suggested a third party such as Norway attempt to mediate the crisis.

For its part, on Saturday, North Korea warned that it was “on the brink of nuclear war” with the US after it test-fired a KN-17 Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) and essentially ignored the US and UN and a new sanctions regime. The KN-17 MRBM launch by was reportedly unsuccessful, but some analysts have challenged that assessment. The KN-17 is described as a single-stage, liquid fueled Scud or No Dong variant, with anti-ship capabilities, or a so-called ‘carrier killer.’ There is some thought, that the failed missile launch on April 5th was also a KN-17 MRBM.

In other related developments, it was reported that the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group was sailing toward the waters of the North Korean coast. The North Korean government warned that it would blow up the USS Carl Vinson with one missile in a likely reference to the KN-17 MRBM. The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group was joined by the USS Michigan, nuclear-powered attack submarine. The IJN Izumo, Japan's biggest warship, a helicopter carrier assault ship, left Yokosuka port on Monday to protect a US supply ship in the region. As well, the French amphibious carrier the Mistral arrived at the main Japanese naval base of Sasebo ahead of exercises next month near Guam. The French amphibious carrier group, along with forces from Japan, the US and UK, are scheduled to practice amphibious landings around Tinian. Following China’s lead, Russian Federation Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gennadiy Gatilov, called on the US and South Korea to reconsider the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the Korean Peninsula labeling it as destabilizing.

#Trump #KimJongun #Albright #MRBM #THAAD #US #UK #French #Japan

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