U.S. Braces for Next Provocation from North Korea

North Korea appears prepared to stage its sixth nuclear weapons test as soon as this weekend, current and former U.S. officials said, placing immediate pressure on President Donald Trump and his efforts to improve bilateral relations with China. We’ve seen that Trump is not afraid to stir the pot when it comes to foreign countries starting trouble. Just last week, Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea into Syria, aimed at the Shayrat Airbase controlled by the Syrian government. Just yesterday, he also ordered the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in any strike against ISIS in eastern Afghanistan.

North Korea is a bit more of a fragile situation because of the implications it could have on our relationship with China. Obviously, Trump threw his “comfy” relationship aside when he ordered the missile strike on Syria, as the Russians have vehemently backed the Syrian government. It would be foolish to think that China wouldn’t side with us if we decided to take action against North Korea, but at this point nobody knows. 

Mr. Trump, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, hailed his recent meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping as potentially opening a new path toward cooperation with Beijing to constrain North Korea leader Kim Jon Un’s regime. He specifically cited possible U.S. flexibility toward Beijing in upcoming trade talks if it shows a willingness to pressure Pyongyang. 

But stepped-up preparations in recent days by North Korea at its Punggye-ri nuclear weapons site, in the northeast of the country, suggest a challenge to the international community could break as early as this weekend, said these U.S. officials. Such a test could constrain Mr. Trump’s efforts to develop with China a longer-term approach toward reining in Pyongyang.

In the last week, President Trump has completed a successful week and showed the world that there is a new sheriff is in town. The markets have been searching for a reason to correct and this action may create those reasons. You can bet that that there will some retaliation from Syria, Afghanistan and will probably come dressed as ISIS.


Keep those stops tight

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz