The missile test reportedly carried out by North Korea over the weekend has the Trump administration and congressional hawks making statements suggesting that the U.S. is closer to military conflict with the withdrawn country than ever before.
The White House began using harsher language in reference to the country late Saturday as Trump press secretary Sean Spicer announced that the president intends to first seek assistance from Russia and China in cooling tensions.
“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” Spicer said.
But the White House official went on to suggest that the U.S. could take action on its own if necessary.
“North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long. South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us,” Spicer continued. “The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea. Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea.”
North Korean officials claim the recent launch is proof that the nation is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that could possibly reach the U.S. or its allies. Experts aren’t so certain but have said the nation is becoming increasingly nuclear capable.
“North Korea’s latest successful missile test represents a level of performance never before seen from a North Korean missile,” John Schilling, an aerospace expert, wrote in a publication which monitors the nation.
And that has lawmakers like GOP Rep. Cory Gardner (Colo.) urging President Trump to ratchet up the pressure on the country and its enablers.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is at the most unstable point since the armistice and the administration must immediately ramp up the sanctions track, especially against the Chinese that are enabling North Korea’s nuclear program,” he said in a statement. “I do not believe we are putting requisite pressure against China that is necessary to stop Pyongyang, and I’ll continue to urge the administration to do so.”