After North Korea launched three more short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea early on Saturday morning, local time, political observers were eagerly looking forward to Trump's response, especially since the president had managed to get boxed in by Kim Jong Un: on one hand, do nothing and be mocked and ridiculed not only by the North Korean press, but by the rest of the developed world, whose view of Trump's diplomatic skills could hardly be any worse; or on the other hand, launch a military campaign, either surgical or broad, and risk a retaliation against South Korea and millions of US allies dying.
In the end the US appears to have chosen the former and on Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the firing of three ballistic missiles by North Korea this week was a provocative act but that the United States will continue to seek a peaceful resolution. The de-escalating tone took place just days after Tillerson credited the North with showing some restraint by not launching a missile since the ICBM test in July, and he had expressed hope that the easing of tension could lead to dialogue. That was not meant to be, although in it appears that what happened next is North Korea called the US bluff, and the US folded.
“We do view it as a provocative act against the United States and our allies,” Tillerson said in an interview on Fox News Sunday. “We’re going to continue our peaceful pressure campaign as I have described it, working with allies, working with China as well to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table.”
As the NYT also reported, North Korea used multiple-rocket launchers off its east coast on Saturday to fire three short-range missiles that could strike United States military bases deep in South Korea, officials in Seoul said. The launches were the North’s first rocket tests since two intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, were fired last month.
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