President Donald Trump caused a stir when he told a group of reporters that his meeting with U.S. military leaders Thursday may be “the calm before the storm.” Recent reports from North Korea may provide some insight to what he meant.
“Maybe this is the calm before the storm,” Trump told the group.
Asked to elaborate, the president responded: “You’ll find out.”
Trump has made clear to both the American people and his closest advisers that he doesn’t believe North Korea will respond favorably to further diplomatic efforts aimed at stalling its burgeoning nuclear program. And North Korea in recent months has done little to prove the president wrong.
According to a Russian lawmaker Anton Morozov, who was quoted by the Kremlin controlled Sputnik news agency, the North Koreans are on the verge of taking belligerence to U.S. and international demands that the nation tone down its military posturing to new heights.
Morozov just returned from a visit to the Hermit Kingdom, telling Sputnik that Kim Jong Un’s government is “rather belligerent” in the face of calls to walk back its nuclear program. He predicts that the latest show of that belligerence will come in the form of a test new long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. West Coast.
“They are preparing for a new test of a longer-range missile. They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the western coast of the United States,” Morozov said.
North Korea’s last test occurred on Sept. 15, when the country lobbed a nuclear capable missile over Japan and into the northern Pacific Ocean.
That launch was ordered just days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the harshest resolution against the regime to date, capping crude oil and refined petroleum imports to the country in addition to barring textile exports vital to its fragile economy.
Following that move and Trump’s now famous promise to meet any north Korean aggression with “fire and fury,” Pyongyang declared that it would retaliate against the U.S. by any means possible.
Morozov’s ominous revelation to Sputnik backs up a warning from a top CIA official earlier this week.
CIA Mission Center director Yong Suk Lee told attendees at an intelligence conference at George Washington University that U.S. security officials should be on the lookout for a north Korean missile launch somewhere around Oct. 9, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the country’s ruling political party.
“Stand by your phones,” he told the national security experts.
Given current tensions, the successful test launch of a missile capable of hitting the U.S. will remove any doubt that military action is on the horizon. And that will bring about a new set of international challenges, the most worrying of which involve how Russia and China would respond to a preemptive strike.
“Storm” may actually be an understatement.