‘Barking Dogs’ and Trump’s Visit to Asia in the Face of Likely North Korean Provocation

US President, Donald Trump, is set to depart today for a five-nation tour of Asia including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines and while a host of issues will be discussed North Korea tops the agenda. With little doubt, this is China’s last chance to step on its ally the Hermit Kingdom once and for all. President Trump and his advisers have made it clear that they will not allow North Korea to threaten its neighbors or the American homeland. The Trump administration has made it clear that the President is going to Beijing for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to push the Chinese to step on North Korea. China’s leadership now must decide whether the ‘barking dog’ in Washington will ‘bite.’

Three US aircraft carrier groups, the USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Theodore Roosevelt and B-1 and B-2 strategic bombers are in the region for President Trump’s visit and they are not just there for moral support. Yesterday the strategic bombers carried out bomber runs near the North Korean border. The US Army in Japan and South Korea have been told to brace themselves and stand ready to repel and defeat the North. Guam under threat of North Korean Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) attack has been replenished with munitions and the B-52 fleet has all been all but put on a Cold War level of readiness. The USS Michigan and potentially a SEAL Team are in the region along with other nuclear-powered attack submarines geared to a decapitation strike on Kim Jong-un’s regime should that become a necessity.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s nuclear test site at Punggye-ri has suffered a tunnel collapse with 200 people reported killed and fears that once trapped underground radiation will now leak into the atmosphere. North Korean sources have warned the US to take Pyongyang’s threat to test a thermonuclear device over the Pacific as a matter of when, and not if. South Korean sources are warning that North Korea may be preparing for another nuclear test or another Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch of an enhanced Hwasong-14 ICBM that can effectively strike the Continental US. As well, North Korea has been carrying out large scale city evacuation and blackout drills and has reportedly issued live ammunition to frontline troops as preparatory to war.

Today or tomorrow could see the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s next provocation to mark US President, Donald Trump’s visit to the Western Pacific. While US military action in response to Pyongyang’s provocation is unlikely during Trump’s visit, North Korea is playing with matches. There next provocation could well be their last for a very long and painful time.

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